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Whole Foods offering better discounts to fitter employees

post #1 of 65
Thread Starter 
http://www.vegsource.com/news/2010/0...ght-video.html

What do you all think about the article and CNN video?
post #2 of 65
Didn't read the article but heard about the policy and I think it is completely discriminatory. I think it's yet another example of a crazy level of moralism that blames obese or overweight people for the problems with our healthcare system and tries to absolve our system of any responsibility.
post #3 of 65
Thread Starter 
But you can't deny that obesity is associated with increased health problems. So the logic would follow that non-smoking, skinny employees are cheaper to insure.
post #4 of 65
I actually think it's nice. It's an incentive program, nothing that says you have to join it if you don't want to.
post #5 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by phathui5 View Post
But you can't deny that obesity is associated with increased health problems. So the logic would follow that non-smoking, skinny employees are cheaper to insure.
Drinking alcohol is associated with increased health problems. Living in a poor neighborhood is associated with increased health problems. Stressful jobs are associated with increased health problems. Not working out and being out of shape - regardless of your bmi - is associated with increased health problems. And the list could go on and on. Should all these people be penalized? It's significant that it's weight that people go after - it's become a culturally acceptable scapegoat.

Rather, we should look for social solutions to these issues. Everyone should have access to affordable, quality, nutritious food. Companies should offer gyms or gym memberships for their employees. People should be given humane working hours and conditions so they have time and energy to spend on eating well and working out and spending time with one's family and pursuing one's passions. And healthcare should be a right that everyone is entitled to regardless of their personal failings. Some people can't quit smoking; some drink coffee non-stop; and some are overweight for a myriad of reasons, some within their "control" and some not. We should have an attitude of helping people in a non-judgmental and non-moralistic way, not penalizing those who fail to be perfect in a world that's incredibly imperfect and difficult to navigate.

Plus, it's not just a perk. Everyone used to get these discounts and now they're differentiating it based on weight.
post #6 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by phathui5 View Post
But you can't deny that obesity is associated with increased health problems. So the logic would follow that non-smoking, skinny employees are cheaper to insure.

Not necessarily. I know a lot of skinny people who eat nothing but crap fast food and some of them are prediabetic and they don't work out at all. They just have great metabolism. I have a very slow poor metabolism and are overweight, but I work out 4+ hours a week and eat an organic high produce gluten free dairy free diet with very minimal processed foods (all of which is organic).

Skinny doesn't equal healthy. Wasn't Britney Murphy really thin...she also died recently from pnemonia, anemia, and a combination of OTC medications.

I think it's great Whole Foods is encouraging healthy choices. But I think they're being a bit black and white about the matter. Someone who is overweight but actively taking steps to improve her health (such as eating right and exercising) shouldn't be given a better discount than someone who is naturally thin but gets drunk, eats at McDonalds several times a week, takes a ton of OTC meds for everything, and sits on the couch all day but just happens to have a great metabolism.)
post #7 of 65
Not only that, but I think it's ironic that they are making healthy food choices more accessible to people they deem as healthy and less accessible to people they deem as at risk for health problems. Uh, yeah.
post #8 of 65
i don't know, i have mixed feelings about it, but even a 22% discount is pretty good i think.
post #9 of 65
This policy is ridiculous, discriminatory and just ugly. I will likely never again set foot in a Whole Foods.

http://lefarkins.blogspot.com/2010/0...thism-and.html (The link has the studies and stats.)

Quote:
In terms of BMI, the Whole Foods discounts correlate with increasing mortality risk.
BMI is not a measure of health. It's not a real measure of anything. It is junk science. If it meant something, why is there no floor? Severely underweight people are prone to very damaging and long-term health issues, but they would receive the greatest discount. How does that make any sense?

Also, athletes by and large are the most expensive employees to insure---runners specifically are huge drains on health insurance policies. Why aren't they being punished with less of a discount?

This is completely an anti-fat policy set up to encourage their employees to fit a particular aesthetic. It has nothing to do with health.
post #10 of 65
Is there a link to a study that shows that runners are draining the healthcare system more than those who are overweight? My DH and I are runners and in the last 10 years I've been to the doctor once because of running because I sprained an ankle. My DH has been there once for knee issues that he's had for over 25 years. Compare this to people we know who are going to massage therapists, back and knee specialists, etc. because their extra weight is causing serious back and knee issues. Or, add up the amount of money for BP or cholesterol medication or insulin and I'm sure there's a huge amount of excess cost. I do admit I could see where athletes are more expensive to insure because they are more likely to go in for yearly physicals and take preventative measures (like physical therapy at the onsest of symptoms) to help stay healthy.

I agree that the BMI system is not perfect, but it is a way to measure - they could evalutate everyone's body fat % along with BP, etc, and go off of a whole physical but people would probably highly object to that as well. I don't see why there is such an issue for providing a discount to those who meet the criteria - at least they are providing a discount to people at all and trying to help provide some sort of motivation to have a healthier workforce. I do however agree that if someone who does not qualify can prove they are exercising and working to live a healthier lifestyle that they should be provided with a discount.

And just to note, there are instances where this type of discount is flipped - at the gym I belong to, if your BMI is obese or higher, you qualify for a program that gives you multiple months of access to dieticians and personal trainers and other specialty seminars - 80% covered by insurance. For those of us 5-10lbs overweight there is no discount for any of those services/packages. I also have sat on many plane flights where I am unable to use an armrest (or either one) because the people next to me are spilling over into my seat, and sometimes I can't even get out to use the restroom - I don't get a discount because I can fit in my seat (I recognize the size of those seats is most definitely on the smaller side of things). There are also many resources provided by lots of companies to help employees stop smoking, seek counseling, stop drinking, etc. I think it's great those services are provided and I think they are wonderful programs to help those that ant it, but I am not offered any discount on anything because I don't smoke, etc.

In general we live in a culture where people don't care where their food comes from, they don't want to have to take personal responsibility for health, for multiple reasons people don't get out and move/exercise, and aren't mindful of their health until there's a problem. I certainly don't consider myself to be discriminatory against those who are overweight - I have plenty of family members who are so; and I don't discount that some thin people are not so healthy (my father for one). I just feel that it's ok for a company to take standardized numbers (knowing there's a flaw in every system) and try to promote getting into a healthy weight range.

I don't feel I need to have a discount for 'doing the right thing' with my lifestyle, though it drives me nuts that there's always a discriminatory label thrown on a program that benefits people are are deemed healthier.
post #11 of 65
Their logic is flawed since skinny people can often be very unhealthy (and they do eat unhealthy) and their dietary recommendations are flawed too:

Quote:
Whole Foods has also recently taken to giving prominent display in their stores to books from leading plant-based diet advocates, such as John McDougall, Joel Fuhrman, John Robbins, Neal Barnard, Caldwell & Rip Esselstyn, and others.
"Plant-based diet" won't work for a lot of people to lose weight and many people don't think that plant-based diets are healthy either. The explanation is that many people think that in order to lose weight, you need to be on a low-carbohydrate diet, and eat a higher (healthy) fat diet at the same time, because eating too many carbs causes weight gain and the healthy fats are needed to keep you satiated, thus you'll eat less. A plant-based diet is typically a high-carb, low-fat diet, which will end up causing weight gain for many people. Especially because these plant-based diets tend to advocate "whole grains" and grains for many people cause weight gain.

So, I think its a bad incentive program.
post #12 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by bronxmom View Post
Drinking alcohol is associated with increased health problems. Living in a poor neighborhood is associated with increased health problems. Stressful jobs are associated with increased health problems. Not working out and being out of shape - regardless of your bmi - is associated with increased health problems. And the list could go on and on. Should all these people be penalized? It's significant that it's weight that people go after - it's become a culturally acceptable scapegoat.

Rather, we should look for social solutions to these issues. Everyone should have access to affordable, quality, nutritious food. Companies should offer gyms or gym memberships for their employees. People should be given humane working hours and conditions so they have time and energy to spend on eating well and working out and spending time with one's family and pursuing one's passions. And healthcare should be a right that everyone is entitled to regardless of their personal failings. Some people can't quit smoking; some drink coffee non-stop; and some are overweight for a myriad of reasons, some within their "control" and some not. We should have an attitude of helping people in a non-judgmental and non-moralistic way, not penalizing those who fail to be perfect in a world that's incredibly imperfect and difficult to navigate.

Plus, it's not just a perk. Everyone used to get these discounts and now they're differentiating it based on weight.
post #13 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by dawningmama View Post

Also, athletes by and large are the most expensive employees to insure---runners specifically are huge drains on health insurance policies. Why aren't they being punished with less of a discount?
I'd also like to see more evidence of this - for me personally in the last calendar year, it's probably a wash, because although running has helped me lower my cholesterol and has been very beneficial for my asthma, I did get treated (with physical therapy) for an exercise-related tendon problem.

Over time, though, I'm more likely to live a long life because of my increased fitness levels.

ITA that skinny =/= healthy, and that fat =/= unhealthy.
post #14 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by ThereseReich View Post
Their logic is flawed since skinny people can often be very unhealthy (and they do eat unhealthy) and their dietary recommendations are flawed too:



"Plant-based diet" won't work for a lot of people to lose weight and many people don't think that plant-based diets are healthy either. The explanation is that many people think that in order to lose weight, you need to be on a low-carbohydrate diet, and eat a higher (healthy) fat diet at the same time, because eating too many carbs causes weight gain and the healthy fats are needed to keep you satiated, thus you'll eat less. A plant-based diet is typically a high-carb, low-fat diet, which will end up causing weight gain for many people. Especially because these plant-based diets tend to advocate "whole grains" and grains for many people cause weight gain.

So, I think its a bad incentive program.
Do you have any links to this info? It sounds interesting.
post #15 of 65
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Someone who is overweight but actively taking steps to improve her health (such as eating right and exercising) shouldn't be given a better discount than someone who is naturally thin but gets drunk, eats at McDonalds several times a week, takes a ton of OTC meds for everything, and sits on the couch all day but just happens to have a great metabolism.)
I agree completely, but when a company is making a program (like schools with testing), they need something objective and easy to measure.

Quote:
A plant-based diet is typically a high-carb, low-fat diet, which will end up causing weight gain for many people. Especially because these plant-based diets tend to advocate "whole grains" and grains for many people cause weight gain.
Granted, this is anecdotal, but I disagree completely. For me, I've always been skinnier when I follow a vegan diet than when I don't.
post #16 of 65
I think it's great personally.My health insurance gives me a discount for going to the gym 50x a year. I like incentives to keep me on track personally.
post #17 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by AllyRae View Post
Not only that, but I think it's ironic that they are making healthy food choices more accessible to people they deem as healthy and less accessible to people they deem as at risk for health problems. Uh, yeah.
exactly. backwards logic.
post #18 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by ThereseReich View Post
Their logic is flawed since skinny people can often be very unhealthy (and they do eat unhealthy) and their dietary recommendations are flawed too:



"Plant-based diet" won't work for a lot of people to lose weight and many people don't think that plant-based diets are healthy either. The explanation is that many people think that in order to lose weight, you need to be on a low-carbohydrate diet, and eat a higher (healthy) fat diet at the same time, because eating too many carbs causes weight gain and the healthy fats are needed to keep you satiated, thus you'll eat less. A plant-based diet is typically a high-carb, low-fat diet, which will end up causing weight gain for many people. Especially because these plant-based diets tend to advocate "whole grains" and grains for many people cause weight gain.

So, I think its a bad incentive program.

Eh, My plant based diet averages 35% fat. Plus I've lost 80 pounds on it. Many people do think that eating carbs leads to weight gain, but they are wrong. Eating too many calories leads to weight gain.
post #19 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by dawningmama View Post

Also, athletes by and large are the most expensive employees to insure---runners specifically are huge drains on health insurance policies. Why aren't they being punished with less of a discount?
Sorry I have to call BS on this, unless you can show me a link to a reputable study?
post #20 of 65
They are offering an incentive to those people that don't meet the criteria but are still trying-- you get points based on how many times you exercise a week and get a cash pay out based on those points, all on the honor system. They also have to use the guidelines imposed because it is a combined program with the insurance company, what other criteria would be more accepted? As far as them making healthy foods less available to the people (employees) that need them most-- they offer numerous programs to all employees that would make these foods more available.
No employee loses any benefit for not meeting the criteria, they just don't get the "bonus" points. Everyone still gets the original discount.
It's a shame that a company tries to make changes for the better of all and they are accused of discriminating.
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