Whole Foods To Reward Workers Who Reduce Their Weight

Nov. 20 (Bloomberg) — Whole Foods Market Inc., the largest U.S. natural-goods grocer, plans to sweeten store discounts to employees who lose weight and measurably improve their health.

Workers will receive discounts of 20 percent rising to 30 percent based on blood pressure, cholesterol levels, body-mass index and whether they smoke or not, Chief Executive Officer John Mackey said in a Nov. 16 telephone interview. The program is voluntary and begins in January, he said.

Were making an investment and we expect a return, Mackey said referring to potential savings in health-care costs. Whole Foods spent $150 million on self-insured health coverage last year, he said.

The offer reflects his published opinion that most health problems are self-inflicted and can be prevented through proper diet, exercise and similar lifestyle changes. Cost savings are achieved by less government control and more individual empowerment, he has said.

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