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The U.S. epidemic of obesity costs private employers an estimated $45 billion annually and has triggered 64 percent of U.S. companies to initiate or plan wellness and obesity-reduction programs. But how companies communicate these initiatives is as important as how they design them. Employers need to be mindful of potential discrimination risk in dealing with overweight employees, as well as the fact that the jury is still out on the costs and benefits of these programs in general, and of paying for bariatric surgery in particular. Three case studies show what some companies are doing to promote employee health.
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