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Companies Join Md. Athletic Club’s Program To Get Their Employees To Exercise

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Monique Griego joined the WJZ News Team in July 2011 as a General...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ)– Nearly half of Americans could become obese within the next 20 years. That’s the alarming prediction from a new study.

Monique Griego has more on the cost of obesity and how companies are trying to fight it.

Staying fit and active isn’t easy. Proof of that can be seen in America’s growing waistline.

“It’s bigger than anybody knows. It’s not uncommon for people to be overweight and think that’s normal .  And they move from there to obesity,” Tim Rhode, CEO of Maryland Athletic Club (MAC), said.

Rhode is in the business of breaking that cycle.

“I think we gotta make a change,” he said.

In a new study, the Institute of Medicine predicts by the year 2030, the number of obese adults will jump from 34 to 42 percent, with the severely obese reaching 11 percent.

With that comes increased health costs, especially for companies.

“They could be saving so much money by helping people lose weight, be more productive and stay on the job,” Rhode said.

The MAC is offering companies a way to fight medical costs by getting their employees in shape.

The MAC’s corporate fit program allows companies to sign up employees for  six- to eight-week training courses that include evaluations, exercise programs and meal plans.

“Several employees said this is what I needed. I really just needed to get up. This is the motivation,” Joan Hovatter, an employee of McCormick Corp., said.

Hovatter is part of a group from McCormick. The company hopes investing in employees now will decrease problems later.

“Anytime we can reduce those risks and costs, it’s a benefit to the employer,” she said.

So far, the program is a huge success.

“Overall, employees say, ‘I feel so much better. I feel good,’” Hovatter said.

Companies can come up with various ways to pay for the Wellness Program. On average, it costs around $150 a person for six weeks.

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