Fitness of the US workforce [review]
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Fitness matters for the prevention of premature death, chronic diseases, productivity loss, excess medical care costs, loss of income or family earnings, and other social and economic concerns. The workforce may be viewed as a corporate strategic asset, yet its fitness level appears to be relatively low and declining. Over the past half-century, obesity rates have doubled, physical activity levels are below par, and cardiorespiratory fitness often does not meet minimum acceptable job standards. During this time, daily occupational energy expenditure has decreased by more than 100 calories. Employers should consider best practices and design workplace wellness programs accordingly. Particular attention should be paid to human-centered cultures. Research should address ongoing surveillance needs regarding fitness of the US workforce and close gaps in the evidence base for fitness and business-relevant outcomes. Policy priorities should consider the impact of both state and federal regulations, adherence to current regulations that protect and promote worker health, and the introduction of incentives that allow employers to optimize the fitness of their workforce through supportive legislation and organizational policies.
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