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Workplace Wellness Decreases Health Cost


There is mounting evidence that supports the need for workplace wellness programs and more companies and EAP’s than ever are implementing health and wellness strategies to reduce absenteeism, injuries, health care costs and long-term disability.

Over 64 percent of U.S. businesses attest that wellness programs are effective at improving health. More than 50 percent offer health benefits providing at least one type of wellness program. Employers can use work site wellness programs to prevent direct costs related to disease and illness and to reduce indirect costs by reducing absenteeism, improving productivity and helping employees to achieve better balance in their lives.

The intensity of a workplace wellness program can range from bulletin board, pamphlet or newsletter information to worksite fitness facilities, health risk reduction classes, yoga, and personal lifestyle change classes and coaching. Workplaces can also help by encouraging routine physical exams with primary care providers or holding on-site health screenings.

"Research shows that companies can save anywhere from $3 to $15 for every $1 spent on health and wellness within 12 to 18 months of implementing a [workplace wellness] program," the statement's lead author, Mercedes Carnethon, an assistant professor of preventive medicine at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine, said in a news release from the heart association.

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"Beyond cost savings and increased productivity, visionary employers are realizing the value of an employee's total health," she said. "An effective worksite wellness program can attract exceptional employees, enhance morale and reduce organizational conflict."

More than 130 million Americans are employed which means that workplace wellness programs have the potential to reach a sizable population. "We are making great strides in workplace wellness, but we also know that half of employees don't have access to these programs, mainly because they work in small companies or for employers that have a small number of employees at multiple sites," Carnethon said.

According to a study of 2,400 adults, published in the journal Preventive Medicine in 2003, people who increased their physical activity from none to three days per week or more paid $2,200 less on average per year for health care than those who remained sedentary. According to NBGH research, obesity-related health issues alone cost American companies roughly $13 billion per year.

Workplace wellness can not only decrease health cost, but help the employee feel more motivated and have higher work production. If your place of work does not have a wellness program ask them to start one.

Materials from the Chicago Tribune and Corporate-wellness-programs are used in this report about the workplace health and wellness.

Written by Tyler Woods Ph.D.
Tucson, Arizona
Exclusive to eMaxHealth