Corporate Fitness and Active Aging

Effects of Smoking and Obesity on Employee Health and Life Expectancy

This blog was written by Jenna Pearson. Meet our blogging fitness specialists at the NIFS website.

obesity, smoking, smoking cessation, weight lossLife expectancy in the U.S. in comparison to the rest of the world is quite impressive: 78.7 years versus 69.2 years. Much of this difference is due largely to advanced medical and preventative care; however, many analysts worry that this number will soon plummet due to a high population of American smokers and the ever-alarming prevalence of obesity in the U.S.

What would our life expectancy stats look like if it weren’t for smoking and obesity? When you look at each factor individually, it’s plain to see that we would boast one of the highest—if not the highest—expectancies in the world. The facts below speak for themselves.

Tobacco Use in the U.S.

  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that longtime smokers lose about 14 years of their lives to their addiction.
  • Tobacco use accounts for about 30% of all cancer deaths and 87% of lung cancer deaths in the U.S.  
  • Tobacco use is responsible for nearly one out of every five deaths in the U.S., and is the largest cause of preventable death.
  • Secondhand smoke causes nearly 3,500 nonsmokers to die of lung cancer and 46,000 nonsmokers to die of heart disease each year.

Obesity in the U.S.

  • Accompanying obesity are numerous risks and ailments that pose serious threats to one’s health and well-being.
  • Researchers have discovered that overweight and obese cancer patients are at a greater risk of experiencing complications related to treatment as well as premature death.
  • In general, overall mortality increases with a body mass index (BMI) of 25 or more, and a BMI greater than or equal to 30 multiplies one’s risk of premature death—especially from cardiovascular disease—by 50 to 100%.

Is your corporation a tobacco-free workplace? How do your workplace wellness programs help promote tobacco cessation and quitting smoking? How can weight-loss programs help your employees live longer, healthier lives?

Topics: corporate wellness overweight employees disease prevention tobacco cessation