More than a quarter of North West people believe their employers have a moral responsibility to help them lead a fit and healthy lifestyle, new research has revealed.
The UK-wide study, conducted on behalf of PMI Health Group, found employees in the region are less concerned about obesity than anywhere else in the country.
Initiatives such as cycle-to-work schemes, fitness classes, nutritional advice and weight-loss programmes can be relatively cheap to implement.
The call is loudest in London (38 per cent), closely followed by Yorkshire (37 per cent) and East Anglia (37 per cent). Furthermore, the study found 24 per cent of North West staff believe their employers should incentivise them to join specific weight-loss schemes.
These results follow on from a December ruling by the European Court of Justice that severe obesity can constitute a disability and calls from the head of the NHS to financially reward employers who introduce weight-loss schemes.
PMI Health group director Mike Blake said: “Although employees in the North West appear less concerned with obesity, it is a rapidly growing problem in the UK – one estimated to cost the economy £47bn a year.
“Consequently, employers are coming under pressure to share the responsibility for tackling the problem by helping staff to lead healthier lifestyles. But, aside from the obvious benefit to employees, a proactive approach is also good for the long-term health of the business, helping to tackle sickness absence before it becomes an issue.
“The cost of diabetes to the NHS, for example, is expected to rise from £9.8bn to £16.9bn over the next 25 years.
“Initiatives such as cycle-to-work schemes, fitness classes, nutritional advice and weight-loss programmes can be relatively cheap to implement.”