CUTTING THE FAT
Obesity costs U.S. companies $12 billion a year in health care. So says the Washington
Business Group on Health, an employer group that lobbies on health policy.
From prescription drug spending to hospital costs, obese employees account for
a bigger slice of a company’s health care expenses than non-obese workers,
says Helen Darling, president of the lobbying group.
The group is working to coordinate efforts across companies to cut the fat including
holding joint weight management meetings, setting up a Web site to disseminate
best practices and holding a corporate summit to address the problem.
IDENTITY THEFT ACCOUNTS FOR $37 BILLION IN LOSES
Some 3.3 million Americans have discovered in the past year that they have been
victims of identify theft—their personal information had been used to open
fraudulent bank and utility accounts, obtain credit cards or to commit other
crimes—according to the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) first national
survey on identity theft.
The FTC reports these cases collectively have cost businesses $32.9 billion and
consumers $3.8 billion.
Another 6.6 million people were victims of account theft, in which the criminal
uses personal information to open and use accounts in the victim’s name
and usually entails using stolen credit or ATM cards to steal from the victim’s
Catching a few Zs at work might not be as bad as it sounds. A recent survey by
the National Sleep Foundation finds that more than one out of four workers say
they are sleepy at work at least two days a week, and a third of the respondents
say they would nap at work if they could.
While no one suggests slacking workers be allowed to snooze while on the job,
some sleep experts say providing quiet places for employees to nap during one
or more regular breaks—restroom breaks, coffee breaks, lunch breaks—could
elevate their moods and reenergize them.
INTERNET USE VARIES BY REGION
Lifestyles differ across the United States, and now it seems how and why people
use the Internet differs by region also.
Analysis by the Pew Internet Project, one of the first to examine Internet use
along regional lines, has found local similarities on Internet use:
Midwest: users are most likely to go online to read news.
Northeast: residents are more likely than in other parts of the country to go
online to shop.
South: users log on at the lowest rate among the nation’s region.
Pacific Northwest, California: with computers having long been a part of daily
life, residents are least likely to spend time browsing for fun.
Rocky Mountain States—have a higher percentage of Internet users (64 percent)
than the country as a whole.
The study also confirms what many have suspected: income and access to education
drive Internet use.