Losing weight is the top health concern for almost half of American workers. According to new research,  43 percent of employees said losing weight was their top health priority for 2012. That percentage represents a 10 percent jump in employees who said weight loss was their top concern in 2011.

"As individuals continue to grapple with weight problems, it's no shock that weight management is again the top issue this year," said Richard Chaifetz, chairman and CEO of ComPsych, a provider of employee assistance and health programs.

After losing weight, 20 percent of employees said that exercising was their biggest health concern. Other responses included:

  • 18 percent of employees who wanted to reduce stress.
  • 10 percent of employees who were concerned with improving their diets.
  • 5 percent of employees who wanted to quit smoking.
  • 1 percent who had other health and wellness concerns.

Although the research highlights the feelings of employees, businesses can also benefit from this information. Particularly, businesses that encourage weight loss and exercise regimens for employees can benefit from workers' gains in mental health and productivity, according to new research, released last week. This, in turn, can help employers save money in a variety of ways.

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"With the impact that obesity and weight issues have on corporate health-care costs, more and more employers are providing comprehensive wellness programs," Chaifetz said. "These programs can holistically address weight, stress and other health issues, resulting in improved productivity and lower health and disability costs."

This research is part of the Tell It Now poll, released by ComPsych.