Health and Wellness Programs in the Workplace
Many 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,...
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