Dr. Stegemann Educates FBBA on Cost of Obesity in the Workplace

Business, Flour Bluff, Health

     Dr. Lloyd Stegemann spoke to the members of the Flour Bluff Business Association at the regular monthly meeting held July 12, 2017, at Funtrackers Raceway Cafe’ in Flour Bluff.  Dr. Stegemann is President, and Chief Bariatric Surgeon at the Better Weigh Center in Corpus Christi, Texas. He specializes in the treatment of obesity and subscribes to a health action plan that involves community leaders, businesses, schools, elected officials, faith based organizations, and healthcare professionals to get every individual to understand the effect that their weight has on their health. Dr. Stegemann focused his presentation on how obesity affects businesses.

     The doctor asked the audience members to find their BMI (Body Mass Index) on a chart like the one below.  He then went on to cite some very disturbing numbers.  “About 24% of the population falls into the overweight category.  That’s almost 90 million people in the United States.  When you go above a BMI of 30, which is about 30 pounds overweight, you move into a Class 1 Obesity,” said Stegemann.  “About 98.7 million Americans, or 36% of the population, are classified as obese.”

     Dr. Stegemann shared a study from the Center for Disease Control, to show how the American obesity problem has changed in the last few years.  “We have a significant problem across the United States,” said Stegemann. “The really scary part is that the obesity rates in our children are very high, particularly in comparison to other countries.  The problem with that is that if you are obese by the age of five, there is a 98% chance that you will be obese as an adult.  So, getting this under control at the earliest ages is critically important.”  According to a 2015 non-scientific report in Men’s Health Magazine, Corpus Christi topped the list for “fattest cities” in America.  “Since America is considered the fattest nation in the world, then that makes Corpus Christi the fattest city in the world.  We have a lot of work to do,” added Stegemann.

CDC Obesity Trend Map
This set of maps, from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, offers a state-by-state look at the tremendous increase in adult obesity over the past two decades. In 1990, no state had an obesity rate higher than 15 percent. By 2010, no state had an obesity rate lower than 20 percent, and 12 states had obesity rates greater than 30 percent.

     Dr. Stegemann asked everyone to consider the following statements and determine whether each is true or false from their own perspectives.

  • Obesity is a disease.
  • Weight loss is easy.  Just eat less and exercise more.
  • Fat people are usually lazy.
  • Employers should care about their employees’ weight.
  • It is okay to fire an employee because he/she is obese.
  • Employers should cover evidence-based weight-loss treatments.

     He followed this activity with important information related to each and a quick video on the Set Point Theory of Obesity, the reason people lose a few pounds then regain them rather quickly.

     “In addition to the many medical problems caused by obesity, carrying extra weight just creates lots of life problems.  Simple tasks like tying your shoes, playing with the kids on the floor and getting up afterward, going fishing and getting on and off the boat become very difficult.  Obesity also sets a person up for weight-bias discrimination. People over a certain weight have to pay for two seats on an airplane. You’ll notice that people who are severely overweight do things like pick out their path in a restaurant prior to getting up to cross the room so that they don’t bump people along the way.  Just sitting in a booth becomes very challenging.  There is a significant decline in the quality of life for these people,” said Dr. Stegemann. “A new study even points to obesity as a possible key factor in developing Alzheimer’s Disease,” said Dr. Lloyd Stegemann.

 

     “What about the economic impact? What is the direct cost for treating the medical problems related to obesity?  It comes out to $428 billion a year – direct cost for treating the medical complications related to weight. That’s about 14.3% of all health care spending in the United States.  This is particularly true and important for treating Type 2 Diabetes,” said Stegemann, “which consumes 26% of the 14.3%.”  To put the numbers in perspective, Dr. Stegemann said that in 1962 the annual spending on diabetes was less that one billion dollars.  In 2014 the number was 112 billion dollars.  “It is a significant problem,” said Stegemann.  “These are the direct costs.  The indirect costs include lost time at work and loss of productivity while at work which comes to $989 billion in indirect costs.  In 2014, the total of direct and indirect cost related to obesity came to $1.42 trillion dollars.  That’s a staggering number.  In fact, it’s over 8% of our GDP.”  He explained that these numbers do not take into account the 320,000 deaths each year associated with obesity.

     “Obesity is now the number 2 killer in the United States behind smoking.  It is expected that obesity deaths will overtake smoking deaths within the next five years based on the current trends,” said Stegemann.

 

     “Why should the employer care about an employee’s weight?  It costs them money,” said Stegemann.  “People who are overweight have a lower rate of productivity and miss more work due to weight-related illnesses or doctor appointments.  Over time, those numbers start adding up.”  Obese employees have 36% more in medical costs, with 77% higher costs for prescriptions. When companies go back to renew health insurance plans, the prices start going up. “As employers, we carry a much higher economic burden.  We pay more in both business and personal taxes.  That $1.2 trillion has to come from somewhere.  Part of that certainly comes from taxes,” he added.

     “What I want everyone to walk away with today is that it doesn’t take a tremendous amount of weight loss to start seeing positive results.  With as little as 5% weight loss, you will start to see dramatic improvements in health and increases in productivity,” said Stegemann.  “Helping your employees’ bottom line certainly helps your own bottom line.”

Other FBBA News

  • FBBA President Jennifer Welp welcomed State Representative Todd Hunter and Hannah Chipman of Brent Chesney’s office.
  • Welp thanked Brent Chesney, Michael Morgan of State Farm, Roshan Bhakta of Candlewood Suites, and Dr. Mohamad Hassan of the Children’s Center for sponsoring the upcoming Flour Fest event on October 28, 2017, at Parker Park from noon until 8:00 p.m.  More sponsors are needed as are volunteers to run the various events.  Anyone interested should contact Jonathan Vela, FBBA Events Coordinator at 512-937-8769 or visit the FBBA website at https://www.flourbluffbusinessassociation.com/ .
  • Javier Wiley accepted the Spotlight of the Month Award for HEB Plus in Flour Bluff.  The store is celebrating its 10th anniversary on Saturday, July 29, 2017.
  • Welp thanked Jonathan Vela’s father, Juan Vela, for selling the Keep It in the Bluff t-shirts and spreading the word about the businesses of Flour Bluff.
  • Susan Lawson gave an update on Parker Pool.  Sponsors are still needed to assist with keeping the pool up and running. For more information visit the website at http://parkerpool.org/ .
  • Welp asked the business owners to consider hosting a mixer in the near future as a way to network with other businesses.
  • Shirley Thornton announced the Flour Bluff Citizens Council would host an educational presentation on how area development plans work, who writes them, and what the city plans on doing to update the Flour Bluff ADP, which has not been updated since 1993.
  • Welp recognized new members:
    • Neal Ekstrom of  NCE Waste Environmental Service, 361-772-5449
    • Chad Mills, Julia Mills, and Rusty Ashurst of R/C Remodeling (361) 777-9248 or  361-846-1148 or 361-438-0954
    • Criselda Torres of Red Cactus Funk & Junk located at 9450 SPID #6A, 361-549-6351
    • James and Dottie Fortner of Annaville Air Conditioning, 361-767-2665, 4860 FM 1889, Corpus Christi, TX 78410
    • Lord of Life Lutheran Church, 361-937-8158, http://www.lordoflifecorpuschristi.org/
  • The next general meeting will be held at Funtrackers at noon on Wednesday, August 9, 2017.  The guest speaker will be local historian James Moloney.
Retired from education after serving 30 years (twenty-eight as an English teacher and two years as a new-teacher mentor), Shirley enjoys her life with family and friends while serving her community, church, and school in Corpus Christi, Texas. She is the creator and managing editor of The Paper Trail, an online news/blog site that serves to offer new, in-depth, and insightful responses to the events of the day.
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