The hidden driver of benefit plan costs: unveiling the impact of obesity

Watch Novo Nordisk's Rami Halabi detail the overlooked elements of obesity

The hidden driver of benefit plan costs: unveiling the impact of obesity

This article was produced in partnership with Novo Nordisk.

Plan sponsors have faced mounting challenges related to the rising costs of benefit plans, exacerbated by the prevalence of chronic diseases such as mental health disorders, diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, respiratory illness, and inflammatory conditions.

Surprisingly, these seemingly disparate health issues share a common link: obesity. As benefit plan expenditures continue to grow, it becomes increasingly evident that addressing obesity is not just a health concern. In conversation with Benefits and Pension Monitor, in this latest webinar, Novo Nordisk’s Medical Science Liaison, Rami Halabi, details how obesity, often overlooked as a mere “lifestyle” condition, is in fact a significant cost driver for benefit plans.

Obesity’s direct association with several costly chronic diseases underscores the urgency for action. To effectively manage this issue, plan sponsors have to adopt a holistic and evidence-based approach to obesity management.

But how can the industry prepare for such challenges and implement effective strategies?

Firstly, it's important to recognize obesity as a medically recognized chronic disease, not simply a lifestyle choice. Understanding this distinction is fundamental to developing appropriate interventions. Additionally, aligning obesity management strategies with the Canadian Adult Obesity Clinical Practice Guidelines ensures that interventions are evidence-based and comprehensive.

A key strategy is the integration of multiple pillars of care. This includes medical nutrition therapy, exercise support, psychological services, and where appropriate, Health Canada-approved obesity medications and bariatric surgery.

Plan sponsors stand to gain valuable insights from sessions dedicated to addressing obesity. By attending such sessions, they can learn to identify the interconnected linkage of obesity with other costly chronic diseases. By implementing an evidence-based approach to obesity management, plan sponsors can find value in viewing it as a preventative investment rather than a reactive cost driver.

Beyond the financial implications, it's essential to recognize obesity as a matter of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion principles of all successful organizations focused on employee engagement and creating a healthy/productive work environment.

As benefit plan expenditures continue to rise, plan sponsors cannot afford to overlook the significant impact of obesity.

In this webinar, delve into the science and evidence supporting obesity as a chronic disease and explore the workplace implications of obesity and helping employees find a healthy weight. Discover the benefits of Wegovy® and its potential role in a comprehensive/evidence-based approach to obesity management.