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.
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County Commissioners Show Support for the FBBA and Flour Bluff Community

Business, Flour Bluff, Front Page

 

 

     The Flour Bluff Business Association held its regular monthly meeting at noon on March 8, 2017, at Funtrackers in Flour Bluff.  A crowd of about 40 small business owners and government officials listened as Pct. 4 Nueces County Commissioner Brent Chesney updated the group on issues at the county level.  In closing, Chesney and Pct. 1 County Commissioner Mike Pusley awarded the association a total of $4500 as part of a program that allows each commissioner to distribute funds for community development as they see fit.  Chesney contributed $2500, Pusley $1000, and County Judge Loyd Neal $1000.

     “I was so impressed with how this seed money was used for Flour Fest last year.  It was a huge success.  There were lots of people in attendance even though it was really hot!”  said Chesney.  He went on to thank the FBBA for doing such a great job on the event.  “I certainly hope they do this again.  What a great first year!  It was a lot of fun for everyone.  The food and music were great.  The events were fun.  It was just a huge success.  Those are the kinds of things that I, as a county commissioner, can get involved with personally.”

     Commissioner Chesney, keynote speaker at the event, expressed how much he appreciates all that the FBBA does for the Flour Bluff community and how much he enjoys being a part of what is going on in all areas of his precinct and “not just being around at election time.”  Chesney, elected in 2014, was sworn in as Nueces County Commissioner, Precinct 4 on January 1, 2015.  “In Flour Bluff, there’s not a lot that the county can directly do because everything out here is in the city limits,” said Chesney. “However, there are many ways that we indirectly impact your community.”

     Chesney opened his talk by recognizing the various entities in Flour Bluff that help the community thrive.  He was especially complimentary of the students, staff, and programs of Flour Bluff Independent School District, saying, “There’s none finer than FBISD.”  He went on to describe how proud he was of Coach James McMinn, his friend and former high school teammate, and the FB girls basketball team for winning their way to the final 4 of the State Girls Basketball Championship.  Chesney said it was thrilling to attend the game in San Antonio.  “It was fun to be there.  And, what a great student body!  Those kids were so well behaved and so fired up.  You should be very proud of the Flour Bluff School District; they really do a great job.”  He was especially happy to announce that the county health fair held at FBISD was a success and something he hopes to continue in the future.

     Chesney handed out other accolades, as well.  He complimented Melanie Hambrick for her efforts in cleaning up Redhead Pond on Laguna Shores Road with Friends of Redhead Pond saying, “This is a project that is special to me and that I’ve been involved in, but Melanie is the one who really got this thing going and is doing what Melanie does, just going after full force.”  He thanked the Flour Bluff Citizens Council, a local advocacy group formed in October 2016, for keeping the people of Flour Bluff people informed and pointed out that he became a lifetime member to show his support for the group.  Chesney thanked Monette Bright for her work with Operation Graduation, a program he personally supports through contributions. He also thanked Jeff Craft of The Flour Bluff Messenger for allowing him to write a column to keep people apprised of what the county is doing with taxpayers’ dollars.

     Turning to County business, Chesney reviewed what has been happening and how the commissioners are working to be “a business friendly county.”  He first recognized Constable Mitchell Clark who was in the audience.  Constable Clark took over as the Pct. 2 constable following the death of longtime constable Jerry Boucher.  “Jerry was a great man.  He was a mentor of Mitchell’s, and we all miss him,” said Chesney.  “But, at the same time we are very excited about Constable Clark because he is who Jerry wanted in that job.  Jerry would only want someone out here who would be a great asset to the area.  Get to know him.  He’s a great guy who’s going to work really hard for Flour Bluff.  You’re also very fortunate to have Judge Thelma Rodriguez out here who works so well with the school in handling truancy cases, a task she took on herself.  We just have a lot of great county officials out here, and she’s one of them.”

Pct. 2 Constable Mitchell Clark

     Chesney told the group that coastal parks in Nueces County are now on the short list for millions of dollars in grants from the BP oil spill and that Padre Balli Park and I.B. Magee Park in Port Aransas are expected to receive $7.5 million in funds from the Restore Bucket 1 grant program.  “These dollars will be used to increase and improve the coastal parks, which will help you.”  Chesney pointed out that the coastal park is one of the few revenue-generating areas of the county and that the $7.5 million will give the county a ten-year jump-start on their master plan. “Mr. Pusley and I are always looking for ways to generate revenue for county projects that benefit everyone in the county – without increasing taxes,” which Chesney pointed out is one of the most effective ways the County can serve the people of Flour Bluff.

Pct. 1 County Commissioner Mike Pusley

     Chesney talked about how much he really enjoys being a county commissioner.  “Things are going well in the county.  We don’t always agree, but we have civil discourse, shake hands, and walk away knowing that we will probably agree on the next ten issues.  That’s how it’s supposed to work in government.”

     Chesney and Pusley addressed the ongoing issues with ADA compliance at all county buildings. “It’s important that we make our facilities accessible to all.  We just want to see some flexibility if – let’s say – a ramp shifts a quarter inch, and it’s no longer in compliance,” said Pusley.

Pct. 4 County Commissioner Brent Chesney receives Certificate of Appreciation from FBBA President Jennifer Welp, March 8, 2017.

Other Announcements from the FBBA

April Spotlight of the Month:  Bob Westrup, owner of Papa Murphy’s in Flour Bluff

New members:  Julie Armstrong of Cubit Contracting and Neal Ekstrom of NCE Waste Environmental Services were accepted as General Members; and Misty Svoboda of Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Real Estate Center was accepted as an Associate Member.

April 1, 2017:  Coastal Bend Troop Support Crawfish Boil and Military Tribute, 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at Briscoe King Pavilion, 15820 SPID, Corpus Christi, TX  (Contact them to donate items by visiting coastalbendtroopsupport.com)

April 8, 2017:  Special Olympics (Contact Lori Eureste, President FB Special Olympics Booster Club at 361-658-9701 or lage1988@yahoo.com.)

April 17, 2017: Flour Bluff Citizens Council General Meeting, 6:00 p.m., at Grace Community Church on Flour Bluff Drive (Visit the website https://www.flourbluffcc.org/ for more information.)

April 22, 2017: Earth Day Community Clean-up with HEB

April 22, 2017:  First day of Litter Critter Program in Flour Bluff  (Check the FBCC and FBBA websites for more details.)

NEXT MEETING:  Wednesday, April 12, 2017, at noon at Funtrackers  (The speaker will be Pct. 2 Constable Mitchell Clark.)

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