Obese staff who feel anxious about public transport should be allowed to start ...

Overweight workers should be allowed to start work later to avoid the rush hour crush, a government adviser suggests 

Overweight workers should be allowed to start work later to avoid the rush hour crush, a government adviser suggests 

Overweight workers should be allowed to start work later to avoid the rush hour crush, a government adviser suggests.

Letting obese staff who feel anxious about travelling on public transport arrive an hour later, or work from home, would help their mental health, an employment expert said.

Stephen Bevan, of the Institute for Employment Studies, said obesity should be treated in the same way as other health conditions.

He is calling for it to become a ‘protected characteristic’ such as age or gender to stop workplace discrimination.

But critics said taking special measures was actively encouraging people to be overweight.

At the world’s biggest obesity conference in Vienna, Mr Bevan told scientists that employers needed to be more sympathetic.

‘We need to co-ordinate our efforts so that people who want to work can do so,’ he said.

‘It can be working time, it can be having a bit of understanding that someone might need to turn up at 10 o’clock because they have trouble with transport or anxiety about transport. 

'I don’t think enough [employers] regard being overweight and obese as part of the family of conditions or impairments that they need to do something about.’ 

Britain’s obesity problem is the worst in western Europe. Two-thirds of adults and a third of children are overweight.

Experts warn it is fuelling a rise in problems such as diabetes and heart disease. 

Obesity is expected to overtake smoking as the top cause of cancer in 20 years.

But while people with other health problems are treated sympathetically, those with obesity are often blamed, Mr Bevan said.

It follows a survey of 700 GPs which found more than half of UK doctors thought overweight patients lacked willpower. 

Letting obese staff who feel anxious about travelling on public transport arrive an hour later, or work from home, would help their mental health, an employment expert said

Letting obese staff who feel anxious about travelling on public transport arrive an hour later, or work from home, would help their mental health, an employment expert said

One in three said they were too lazy to keep the weight off.

Mr Bevan added: ‘Some people say that obesity is the last characteristic that it’s still socially acceptable to make

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