Manage Your Weight

Some of us would like to lose a few pounds so we look better in a swimsuit, fit into an old outfit or just feel better. But for others, weight loss is a medical necessity: In America, nearly 70% of adults are classified as overweight or obese, and nearly two-fifths of adults (and 17% of children) are considered obese. For those people, finding a way to lose weight can be a matter of life and death.

Fortunately, employee benefits often can help. Here are a few areas in which your benefits might help you reduce your weight … and improve your health and overall well-being.

Health screenings. Before you start a weight-reduction program, see your primary caregiver and ask specifically about your weight. If you include this conversation as part of your annual physical, it likely will be covered 100% as part of preventive care coverage.

Nutrition plans. Many benefit programs cover the cost of a nutritionist or registered dietician who can help you put together a healthier diet.

Exercise. If your caregiver prescribes an exercise regimen with a physical therapist, it could be covered by your health plan. Even if it’s not, most plans offer some form of gym membership discount or reimbursement.

Weight-loss programs. If your caregiver directs you to a medical weight-loss program, it likely will be covered under your healthcare plan. In addition, some plans offer reimbursements or discounts on commercial weight-loss programs such as WW (formerly Weight Watchers).

Stress-reduction programs. For many people, poor nutrition and exercise habits are a reflection of out-of-control stress. By tapping into your benefit plan’s Employee Assistance Program, you will likely find a number of options that can help you in dealing with stress, including one-on-one counseling opportunities.

That last point includes a good overall tip: Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) often are a great resource for employees seeking to improve their lives in any number of ways. Not only can you access specific services, but your EAP often can serve as a guide to benefit features you didn’t know you had.

Of course, your HR team might be the best place to start. They can help you understand what is available to you through your benefits and how to make the most of it. So, while they are not weight-reduction specialists, they should be able help you get started on your weight-reduction journey.

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