Workforce fitness: description, contextual issues, and implications for public health
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Workforce 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. Yet fitness levels appear to be relatively low and declining. Over the past half century obesity has doubled, physical activity levels are below par, and cardiorespiratory fitness often does not meet minimally acceptable job standards. During this time, daily occupational energy expenditure has decreased by more than 100 calories. It is recommended for employers to consider best practices and design workplace wellness programs accordingly. Regulations that protect and promote worker health, and the introduction of incentives for employers to optimize the fitness of their workforce represent important public health strategies.