Wellness programs at the workplace

October 9, 2008 by  

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More and more are spending people more time sitting behind the desk looking at the computer screen than doing physical exercise. This is one of the reasons why obesity and cardiovascular diseases are becoming an epidemic in the developed world.

Obesity costs U.S. employers more than $13 billion annually and it also adversely affects the quality of life and health of their workers,” according to LuAnn Heinen, director of the National Business Group on Health’s (NBGH) Institute on the Costs and Health Effects of Obesity.

The American Heart Association through it’s Start! Program

supports employers’ efforts to get their employees physically active and adopt healthier habits.

The program commissioned Harris Initiative to assess the impact of workplace wellness programs on the well-being of the employees.

An online survey was conducted between July 12 and July 24, 2007 involving about 3000 employees 18 years and older. The results show that employers fall into 2 categories:

And here are the evaluation results of the employees:

My employer encourages “extremely well.”


My employer encourages “very well.”


My employer encourages “well.”


My employer encourages “somewhat well.”


My employer encourages “not well at all.”


There are a lot of reasons why employers should actually encourage the wellness programs, namely:

  • lower health care costs
  • healthier and happier employees
  • more productivity and fewer absences in the workplace

Wellness programs pay off for both the employee and the employer, according to this San Antonio Business Journal report.

“…just apply an average wage to the number of sick days and you can easily establish the potential dollar savings from keeping people healthy.”

In a Boston Globe article last year, the companies IBM, Wesley Willows Corp were cited for their health and wellness programs.

Now what let’s have a look at the ways that employers can encourage wellness in the workplace.

In another survey conducted by the NBGH in 2005, the following most common fitness initiatives that employers provide are:

Here are some additional suggestions from the AHA Start! Program:

So, what do you think? Does your workplace/employer extremely encourage fitness and wellness? If yes, are you participating? If no, can’t you do something about it?

Photo credit: maffu at stock.xchng

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3 Responses to “Wellness programs at the workplace”
  1. People work form 9 to 5 with no time for exercise. Saturday and Sunday they usually eat, see movies, sleep. Exercise in the work place is a great idea. Regards

  2. Yes, obesity as well as lethargic workers cost companies tons of money in inefficiency. Employers need to realize that healthy, happy employees are productive employees!

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