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Review: "Why Employers' Incentives for Weight Loss Fall Flat with Workers" – NPR

Michelle Andrews' article in NPR/Kaiser Health News is worth a quick read, and here are a few major takeaways I got from it.

  • First, having your boss all up in your business can be off-putting. It's one thing to have your medical professional know you inside and out; it's another thing to have your employer knowing you inside and out (e.g. Hobby Lobby and the contraceptive debate).

  • Secondly, most corporate incentive programs neglect to give incentives that are big enough and often enough. In the case of the company mentioned in the article, they wanted to dole out the payoff at the very end. If you've worked with enough Americans, you know that waiting a year for a reward is not our strong suit.

  • Additionally, I would venture that most people – since their wages are stagnant and they are unhappy with their positions – would rather have paid time off than $550 a year. I wonder how different the results would have been if the offer was one full day of PTO to be taken the following month for every five pounds lost.

The P.S.Y.C.H. plan doesn't address any of these concerns because health care would no longer be attained through employers. Employers won't know anything about your health, and that's exactly how it should be. The only incentives employers would be providing – perks such as raises in pay, a 401(k), PTO, and even coffee – would serve to keep their best, brightest, and hardest workers on their payroll.


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