The number of overweight and obese Queenslanders is expected to bulge to 3 million people by 2026 if current trends continue, up from 2.5 million in 2016.
This World Obesity Day (Wednesday, October 11), Cancer Council Queensland is calling on workplaces to help reduce the burden of obesity by putting their weight behind improved healthy workplace initiatives.
Cancer Council Queensland CEO Ms Chris McMillan said incorporating healthy lifestyle choices into work environments was an effective way to tackle obesity and promote wellness.
“64 per cent of Queensland adults are currently overweight or obese, with that number predicted to rise if urgent action is not taken,” Ms McMillan said.
“We’re calling on workplaces to implement healthy workplace initiatives focused on key risk factors, including nutrition and physical activity.
“The good news is that obesity and being overweight can be prevented and reversed.
“Simple changes like adding healthy options into vending machines, encouraging standing meetings or walks around the block, or providing healthy catering options can make a difference.
“Not only do workplace initiatives help improve health and wellbeing of staff, but they have been proven to significantly increase productivity, morale and worker retention – and decrease sick leave and workers’ compensation.
“Research shows that for every $1 invested into employee wellbeing, employers will save an average of $5.81 in productivity, sick leave and workers’ compensation.”
Figures from the Chief Health Officer’s latest report showed overweight and obese Queensland adults need to collectively lose 35.5 million kilos, an average of 15kg per person, to reach a healthy weight range.
“We must work together to find ways of getting people moving more and eating less unhealthy food – and a great place for this to start is in the workplace,” Ms McMillan said.
“Being overweight or obese increases the risk of cancer and other chronic diseases and the epidemic threatens our productivity and hampers our health system.
“It’s vital we encourage individuals and communities to work towards a healthy weight, limit sedentary behaviour and boost health and happiness through activity and diet.”
Many chronic diseases, including one third of all cancers, are preventable through healthy lifestyle changes like eating a healthy diet, being physically active, quitting smoking and limiting alcohol.
Cancer Council Queensland’s healthy workplace program QUEST, provides organisations with resources and tools to help staff reduce their cancer risk. For more information, visit www.quest.org.au.
 The Health of Queenslanders 2016, Risk and protective factors. Report of the Chief Health Officer Queensland.
 Effective Health and Wellbeing Programs report, comcare.gov.au.