ATLANTA: Media messages about the impact of obesity on company revenues are not penetrating the C-suite, according to a Duffey Communications study.
The agency conducted the survey as part of its quarterly Executive Visionaries Forecast, which tries to get a sense of the issues on the minds of business leaders and elected officials.
Although executives cite rising healthcare costs as a top concern, they do not believe that employee obesity is contributing to them.
The survey of 450 C-level business and political leaders found that 65% of executives believe that obesity has "no impact" on revenue or worker productivity. Only 27% of respondents believe that there is an impact; 8% are unsure.
For PR pros, the cost message will be an important one in promoting new diet and fitness products, said Sherri Fallin, director of client services.
She added that the epidemic would likely have long-term business consequences.
"When you see obesity linked to the cost of healthcare, people will pay attention," she said.
Executives are more likely to hear about the cost message now that the 2005 federal dietary guidelines, which set the tone for the government's nutrition and fitness agenda for the next five years, have been released, Fallin noted.
She added that the survey also had implications for internal communications practices, which executives could use to emphasize healthy habits.