Organizational Behavior and Prevalence of Obesity among Employees in India

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Worldwide, at least 2.8 million people die every year because of being overweight or obese. 13% of the world’s adult population (11% of men and 15% of women) were obese in 2014. Lancet findings also say, India is just behind US and China in this global hazard list of top 10 countries with highest number of obese people. They account for 38 million deaths in 2012, and the same number is expected to go 52 million by 2030.

Globalization has contributed significantly in economic growth of the country and introduction of new companies has created plenty of jobs where employees spending 60-70% of their time in offices. An Australian study shows that working adults spent up to one half of the workday sitting down implying occupational sitting is a main contributor to total daily sitting time (Brown WJ, 2003). During the job hours, sitting for prolonged hours adversely affecting the body which is not wired to be shiftless. Lack of movement slows digestion process by reducing the amount of food that is converted to energy and thus promoting fat accumulation results into overweight and obesity which further leads to many non-communicable diseases like diabetes, cardiovascular disease, sleep apnea and arthritis.

Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations says that although India’s economic boom has brought risein corporate profits and higher incomes for employees, it has also led to a surge in workplace stress and lifestyle diseases. ASSOCHAM’S corporate employees’ survey result says, 36%t of the sample population are suffering from obesity which is itself a risk factor for corporate employee working in sitting condition. The average office worker sits about 10 hours a day. There are all those hours in front of the computer, plowing through emails, making calls or writing proposals and eating lunch and even at home there are hours sitting in front of the TV or surfing the internet.

A private firm, Bajaj Allianz General Insurance Company conducted a survey with 1,100 working professionals in the age group of 23-35 years in New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bengaluru, Pune, Hyderabad, Gurgaon and Goa. Study says, 45% of young professionals suffer from some kind of lifestyle disorder. The most widespread problem was chronic body pain (40%), obesity (20%).

In the past two decades, research on workplace psychosocial risk factors has produced a range of theoretical and empirical research (Theorell, T., 2000). An extensive range of health end points, especially cardiovascular diseases have been associated with the psychosocial work environment.

Research Gap

Journal of sports science published (Ross SE, 2016) a paper and said, currently no consensus exists across published literature reviews regarding the primary cause of the obesity and more research using advance measurement system is necessary. In context of organization behavior, there is also a gap in terms of studies, how corporate companies are creating enabling environment for their employees to adopt healthy habits, highlighted in a study (Jans MP, 2007), conducted in Netherlands where employees sit on average 7 hours in a day on and off the working place. On the other hand, in a systematic review, (Van Uffelen et al. 2010) found limited evidence on adverse association between occupational sitting and different health outcomes. Since Indian employee working in same company comes from very diverse background, proposed study was designed to understand how organizational behavior affecting the health of the employees.

Research Problem

Corporate employees are surviving in inflexible global competitive environment and maintain sedentary lifestyle to save their jobs and add pressure on their health. Due to increasing technological developments, work has become less physical and more mentally demanding, thereby often being more sedentary, most of the workforce sits throughout the day (Church TS, 2011). Optum’s studied a sample size of 200,000 employees and found that prolonged sitting has adversely affecting the health of employees and nation’s economy as well. Around 30 million people are overweight or obese in India and the direct and indirect cost of obesity-associated conditions in India is estimated to be nearly $13 billion by 2025. Obesity which contributes to higher levels of cancer, heart disease and diabetes, and has been shown to limit substantially a person’s ability to work.

Objectives Of the study

  • To identify the obesity risk factors among working adults in corporate sector
  • To identify the occupational hazards in the organization causing health problems.

Research Methodology

An exploratory study was designed where respondents were recruited through two stage sampling method. A sample frame of corporate employees was identified through set inclusion criteria and further 200 sample unit was selected randomly from the sampling frame. This study collected the quantitative data and qualitative information of 200 employees working in multinational companies through a set of questionnaires. 3 points Likert scale was also used to measure the level of satisfaction in terms of services. After minimizing the data of 20 respondents having invalid responses, sets of 180 samples were evaluated through Descriptive statistical tool. During the first stage of identifying a sampling frame, following inclusion criteria were set and based on the 400 units in sampling frame, researcher has randomly selected 200 respondents. 20 respondents presented invalid response in questionnaire hence excluded from the study.

Inclusion Criteria for first stage sampling:

  • Respondent working in corporate sectors
  • Respondent having sitting job profile
  • Respondent in age group of more than 30 years

Questionnaire Variables:

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  • Socio Demographic Data
  • Psychosocial Occupational Hazards
  • Health Determinants

Findings of the Study:

1. Socio demographic data

Out of total 180 respondents, more than 56% were in age group of 30-39 Years, while 11% were in age group of more than 50%. Total 82% of the respondents were married and more than 54% of them were at least graduate. All the participates were working in multinational company and having position in range of executive level to senior management level. Out of total respondents, 53% were working either in computer or engineering industry, 24% were from the research firm and rest of them selected form management consultant firms. On the last variables, 59% respondents were based in metro cities while rest in non-metro cities. 78% of the respondents were having experience of in rage of 3-7 years.

Total 67% respondents reported, working in shift works. Organization has rotation policy and employee agreeing to the slots, adhere to the plan. However, organizations have flexibility to shift the employee in different slots after mutual consent. Out of 67% respondents working in shifts, 43% reported convenient for the employee while 48% says, not convenient. On Likert scale 57% were satisfied with the shits jobs while 32% were dissatisfied. 11% of the respondents have chosen neutral response.

Workload

Employee stays for more than stipulated working hours in office. While exploring 76% reported that they spent equal or more than 2 extra hours in office at least 3 days in a week. On Likert Scale, out of those who spent extra hours in office, 63% where satisfied and 29% dissatisfied. Only 8 % of them chosen neutral response. On exploration, it came out that organization offers incentives and perks for extra working hours.

Organizational Facilities

In terms of office facilities, researcher asked on the satisfaction level, 62% respondents were satisfied with the infrastructure available for the employee. Those who were dissatisfied explained that the organizations have no standard sitting arrangements. Sitting in small Partitions are adversely affecting the health. 81% of the dissatisfied respondents expressed disappointment over the cafeteria within office. After exploration it has come that the cafeteria only offers tea/coffee and snacks. While asking on the facilities like yoga/indoor games within the office premises, 85% reported No.

Organizational culture and Functions

Organizational behaviors play a significant, often neglected role in cuing the behaviors of individuals. It is only organization that make decisions about the availability and quality of food items in cafeteria and whether employees receiveincentives to use cars but no incentives to use bicycles (Butland, B. Et. Al. 2007).Organization requires stringent communication system to inform and educate the employee on various aspects other than the training programmes. Researcher tried to understand in this study whether companies have a communication system (email/messaging/call/others) to educate the employee. 82% respondents reported there is no communication, employee receives on health and safety aspects. Only 39% of the respondents said the company has visuals in the office to highlight the health and safety among the employee. Only 8% employee reported that receive weekly/daily email on health and safety related topics through internal email. On exploration, 89% respondents said the company has health and safety policy, but adherence is limited. On Likert scale, 78% of the respondents expressed dissatisfaction in company’s health and safety program implementation plan. While 8% are satisfied with the facility and 14% has chosen neutral response.

Disease or signs of disease

Researcher has also explored if the respondent has developed any ailment or related signs during the professional working period. On multiple response option (Table-1), 32% reported about eye problems, 57% about overweight/obesity, 81% says about any form of stress. 75% reported gastric problem while less than 30% respondent reported about cervical and arthritis problem. Researcher has also collected data on smoking and drinking habits and 38% of the respondents found smoking everyday frequently while 32% said occasionally. Almost similar percentage 30% were among non-smokers. Around drinking habits, only 17% expressed that they drink frequently (At least once in a month), while 52% reported that they drink occasionally, and 31% respondents were among non-consumer. On exploration with frequent smoker and drinker, it has come out that work stress is one of the key reason, takes towards the addiction which is further becoming illness causing factors.

In addition to the direct adverse effect, obesity also generates indirect costs for employers by increasing workers’ compensation claims and related lost workdays (Osbye, Dement, and Krause 2007), absenteeism (Finkelstein, Fiebelkorn, and Wang 2005; Ricci and Chee 2005), presenteeism (Ricci and Chee 2005), and disability in people aged fifty to sixty-nine (Sturm, Ringel, and Andreyeva 2004). In this study it was also reported that travelling to work is problem for majority of the employee. Most employers do not routinely measure presenteeism (a self-reported measure of diminished on-the-job work performance due to health or life problems), although acceptance of it as a concept is growing (Hemp 2004). Even without counting the cost of presenteeism, however, productivity costs attributable to obesity are significant. Indeed, analysts believe that the indirect costs of obesity may be greater than the direct medical costs (Wolf and Colditz 1998). This study has also come up with findings that facilities like yoga/indoor games within the office premises were not available as reported by 85% of the respondents.

Implications of the Study

Since India has diverse category of workforce in various multinational companies and currently has limited research on the organizational behavior and rise in obesity, this research aims to educate not only health practitioners but organizations as well whose having interest in improving the organizational behavior and the health of their workforce to increase work productivity. By doing the study, research will come up with the association among identified variables related to the employee and organization which is adversely affecting the health of the employee and organization as well.

To motivate the employee, companies will use the findings to develop healthy and employee friendly organizational space and culture. Employers many times lack the awareness, understanding, and experience that are required to design, implement, and evaluate a health promotion program within the workplace (Goetzel, 2001). This research will bridge the gap between employer and employee by examining health interventions within the workplace. In bridging this gap, both employer and employee benefit by reducing both direct and indirect costs as it relates to overall health and the cost associated with the risks of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes as it relates to obesity within the workplace.

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Organizational Behavior and Prevalence of Obesity among Employees in India. (2022, Jun 29). Edubirdie. Retrieved May 20, 2024, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/organizational-behavior-and-prevalence-of-obesity-among-employees-in-india/
“Organizational Behavior and Prevalence of Obesity among Employees in India.” Edubirdie, 29 Jun. 2022, edubirdie.com/examples/organizational-behavior-and-prevalence-of-obesity-among-employees-in-india/
Organizational Behavior and Prevalence of Obesity among Employees in India. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/organizational-behavior-and-prevalence-of-obesity-among-employees-in-india/> [Accessed 20 May 2024].
Organizational Behavior and Prevalence of Obesity among Employees in India [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Jun 29 [cited 2024 May 20]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/organizational-behavior-and-prevalence-of-obesity-among-employees-in-india/
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