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Should healthy behaviors be part of employment expectations?

By Elena Watts
June 29, 2014 at 1:29 a.m.

Jason Brown, 35, of Victoria, concentrates as he works out at Gold's Gym Express. Brown recently completed the H-E-B Slim Down Showdown, losing 80 pounds since January.

"Why are we still fat?" John Peters asked at a recent Obesity Issues Program in Aurora, Colo., which was sponsored by the National Press Foundation.

For the first time in human history, the number of people on the planet who are overweight or obese equals the number who are undernourished, said Peters, a professor and chief strategy officer for the Anschutz Health and Wellness Center at the University of Colorado.

"This is not a new epidemic," Peters said. "It's been around for 30 years."

Scientists have determined many causes that lead to an overweight and obese population, and they have also provided many solutions to curb the epidemic. However, people have continued to either grow or remain fat.

Based on decades of research, Peters believes people do not have good enough reasons not to be fat. He offered an alignment of individual and collective purposes as a way to curb the obesity epidemic.

Survival for a healthy society is about economic health, jobs, global competitiveness and education, all of which provide the means by which people have healthy, productive lives, he said.

Peters posed this question: "Should healthy behaviors be part of employment expectations?"

The leader in nutrition research elaborates about his response to this question, and Crossroads residents and a professor at the University of Texas offer their reactions, as well.

Pro: Businesses should require healthy activity at work

Con: Improved health should be workplace option, not requirement

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