Starting in 2010 being overweight as an Alabama state employee costs an additional $25.00 a month. Statistics are showing that 84% of medical claims are directly related to lifestyle choices- so the state has taken the position of charging extra if an individual's choices are costing their pool of employees more health related dollars.
Alabama administrators found that employees with a BMI (Body Mass Index) of more than 35 cost the state 40% more in health care costs. The state already charges smokers an additional $25.00 a month for their insurance.
We believe that this added "obesity tax" runs parallel to debtor's prison in days of old when peasants who were taxed beyond their means were imprisoned for not meeting their debts. Employee's spend their entire work day in cubicles that foster and promote the very obesity that their employer's are charging them for. Studies out of Stanford have proven that the number one cause of obesity in America is inactivity, so why would anyone punish the employees further?
Debates rage on about the legality of such measures however the facts support that health care is in the hands of the individual provided the individual has adequate access to healthy choices. Sedentary jobs such as those requiring 8 hours spent in an office chair pose a major challenge to the health of employees and the health costs borne by employers. Treadmill desks offer a solution that not only enhances an employee's health but also cuts the costs of their medical care.
Alabama may be the first state to impose these measures but other countries have previously started the trend. Japan is requiring policy holders to maintain specific waist measurements, anyone over 33.5 inches for men and 35.4 inches for woman earn their employer a hefty fine.