It’s undeniable: the United States is carrying around some pretty heavy baggage. And I don’t mean just as a consequence of its political decisions over the last few years.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a person is obese if his or her Body Mass Index is 30 or higher (BMI is a measure of an adult’s weight in kilograms divided by the square of his or her height in meters.)
Obesity is widely acknowledged as being a pretty large (no pun intended) problem in the US. According to the latest obesity trends report available from the Centers, obesity levels have increased sharply over the last 10 years — in 1995, obesity prevalence was less than 20 percent in all 50 states; in 2005 the same could be said for only 4 states.
Apart from inevitable weight gains during one’s freshman year of college, the holiday season, a pregnancy, or perhaps an extremely fulfilling relationship (that insidiously prods one into a state of blissfully oversized complacency,) people often complain of gaining large amounts of weight when they start work due to a sudden dearth of physical activity.
Lucratively tapping into this is the Mayo Clinic in New York, which has developed a work station cum treadmill that allows people to lose weight while working. The machine operates at different speeds and adjusts to allow its users to stand and work, walk and work, and even sit and work.
The treadmill-workstation combo could help obese people lose up to 30 kgs (66 pounds) a year. Priced at $2000, the device, which is comprised of a computer, keyboard, and treadmill, even has space for personal items like pen holders and paper trays. No more having to plod to the gym after a long day at work, or having to give up one’s lunch hour to sweat it out — now people are being offered a way to earn money, lose weight and be productive all at once. Sounds pretty good doesn’t it?
The question is: is mixing business with exercise really such a good idea? How many employers are actually going to spring for a device like this? Is it realistic to envision that a treadmill cum work station could be a permanent fixture in offices around the nation, or at least those with high rates of obesity amongst employees? Or is this just another transitory fad?
Also, how many employees are going to be comfortable with the prospect of having a meeting with breathless co-workers perspiring on their treadmill workstations as they talk about the latest stock market crash? And how many people are going to want to earnestly concentrate on burning fat when they’re surrounded by an ogling bunch of fellow employees? I, for one, would prefer to drag myself to the gym even after a long day, if it means I can work out away from prying eyes.