Home > Barriers to Obesity Care > Barrier 5: Misaligned Perceptions of Wellness Offerings

Barrier 5:

Barrier 5:

Misaligned perceptions of wellness offerings

Misaligned perceptions of wellness offerings

Employer wellness programs are not meeting the needs of people with obesity1 (PwO)

Like people with obesity and health care professionals, the majority of employers (64%) agree that obesity is a disease; however, few employers agree they have at least partial responsibility for employees’ weight loss.

At the same time, employers are motivated to offer wellness programs and more than three quarters (77%) of employers reported providing health and wellness information to employees. Some of these programs include weight management components.


Employers offer wellness programs for a variety of reasons1


Value in wellness programs perceived differently by employers and people with obesity1

The wellness programs offered by employers are not perceived by the majority of people with obesity as helpful.


Insurance coverage for medical treatment of obesity is a source of concern for employers1

A small number of people with obesity (13%) reported that their employer offers insurance coverage for the medical treatment of obesity. Employers cited multiple reasons for their concern around coverage.

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The bottom line: Misaligned perceptions of wellness offerings

Varying perceptions of the value of wellness programs as well as employer concerns regarding insurance coverage present a barrier to effective obesity management.

  1. Kaplan LM, Golden A, Jinnett K, et al. Perceptions of Barriers to Effective Obesity Care: Results from the National ACTION Study. Obesity. 2017. doi:10.1002/oby.22054.