Today, a Federal Appeals court upheld
New York City's proposed regulation
requiring chain restaurants with at least 15 outlets across the country to post calories on menus and menu boards. The rationale is that displaying such information is a reasonable way to curb obesity because it forces people to know how many calories they're eating.
According to the NYC DOH, more than half of New Yorkers are overweight or obese (there are 8.2 million
people in New York City proper); officials believe the menu labeling regulation will prevent 150,000 New Yorkers from becoming obese and will stop another 30,000 from developing diabetes and other health concerns over the next five years.
Let's ponder this for a moment... 8.2 million folks - the breakdown for overweight and for obese are difficult to ascertain (although here's a Body Mass Index chart
that speaks to me) - and over 50% may have current or future health problems. Future health problems mean increased costs for those who aren't overweight or obese. One solution then is to let the people know that their beloved Big Mac is a heart attack waiting to happen and by offering such information 180,000 New Yorkers will see the light, turn their cheek to these death meals and everyone will live healthfully ever after.
This has dilemma written all over it.
One, it is clear that we have a local problem - not unlike other parts of the country - when it comes to obesity. The greater the problem, the greater the chance it will find its way into recruiting. In our area, it is then a given that as we recruit more people, more people will be obese and will require reasonable accommodations to enable them to perform the job. These reasonable accommodations will drive up the costs of doing business and ultimately will strain the balance sheets of many companies.
The impact of obesity will find its way onto the unemployment line.
The food industry has fought labeling for years and prefers self-regulation
. I suspect this is so because awareness leads to behavior modification leads to decreasing sales.
As recruiters, we need to be aware of this information because it impacts the size - no pun intended - of our talent pool - health problems will take talented people away from us far too soon. Share this information with your company's leadership and benefits director so they can understand how health and wellness impacts talent acquisition. Talk about being strategic...
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