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Health And Wellness Programs In The Workplace

1014 words - 4 pages

Health and Wellness Programs in the WorkplaceMany companies in the United States (US) are using health and wellness programs not only to make their employees healthier, but at the same time these programs are being used as a cost reduction tool.Musich and Edingtons' (2000) case study found that companies after one year of participation in a fitness wellness program reported a decrease of 20% in disability days and a decrease of 46% in medical cost.Healthy employees' equal lower healthcare cost but as hard as employers try there is no way of only hiring healthy employees; so the implementation of health and wellness program at work has to be done properly. According to Wellness Councils of America the most popular programs are "exercise [weight reduction], stop-smoking classes, back care programs, and stress management" ("The cost benefit of worksite wellness," n.d.). We will be focusing in on a few of these wellness programs.The US will soon be referred to as the land of the free and the home of pudgy, mainly due to the reason that obesity is the leading preventable killer in America. Doctor Robert E. Brolin (2002) has stated that anyone exceeding their ideal bodyweight by 20% or a body mass index of 30 or more is categorized as obese; and that 30% of Americans are considered clinically obese. Doctor Brolins' research also states that obesity medical treatment is approximately $51.6 billion a year. The article "Obese Patients Have Higher Health Care Costs Than Nonobese Patients" (2004) claims in one years time that the out-of-pocket medical expense for an obese person is $585 as opposed to $333 for a non-obese person; and the annual prescription cost is also higher for an obese person at $360 as opposed to $160 for a non-obese person. This is why exercise and weight reduction programs are so popular at the workplace.Break walking groups at the workplace is one of the most popular exercise programs; this program consists of employees walking for 15 minutes, twice a day, on their breaks. Company sanction version of this program is to set-up teams, issue everyone a pedometer, individual and team distances are documented daily. Results are posted for all to see in many cases bragging rights is sufficient reward but usually the company will have a non-monetary reward program in-place. Once trends are established then individual and team goals can be set. The most popular company sanction weight loss program is Weight Watchers; conditions of this program is that the employer will pay 100% for a the 12 week program for each associate who lose 10 pounds within 12 weeks, and the company will pay 50% for those associates that are not able to lose the goal weight within the allocated time.Cigarette smoking is the second leading preventable killer in America. Dr. Donald Hall (2006) claims that there is a $3.90 medical cost adder per cigarette pack, and in a years time the grand total would close to $1,400. Dr. Hall's 10 steps to quit smoking consists of...

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