An interesting study recently posted at CBS News found an important social link between obesity and emails in the workplace that could help provide some meaningful clues on how to tackle this issue more effectively utilizing social networks at employers in disseminating healthy information. Here are some key excerpts:
A study of workplace emails found a strong link between the frequency coworkers emailed each other and body mass index (BMI), a measure used to determine obesity. The analysis of emails found obese co-workers were more likely to email each other.
Study co-author Dr. Elizabeth Rula, executive director and principal investigator at the Healthways Center for Health Research, told CBSNews.com her team was surprised to find this link in a random assortment of emails. She hopes these social networks at the workplace can be used to spread more healthful messages.
The following are details on how the study was conducted:
The study, published in a February issue of PLoS One, involved employees working at several U.S. offices of Healthways who had been screened for their BMIs, a ratio of height over weight. People with a BMI of 18.5 to 24.9 are considered normal weight, those with a BMI 25 to 29.9 are overweight and those with a BMI of 30 or greater are considered obese, according to the National Institutes of Health.
After reviewing more than 5 million emails from more than 2,000 employees, the researchers mapped a corporate social network that showed which employees were most influential to their peers and which employees were more likely to pick up certain health traits, in this case being thin or overweight.
Since most companies have access to employees’ emails, Rula thinks targeting a particular person in a social network with lots of influence may be an ideal way to promote a healthy campaigns in the workplace.
Be sure to go read the whole article today and offer your thoughts in our comments section on some of things your employer is doing to effectively tap the social networks dynamic to promote greater health & wellness among employees.
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