Are corporate wellness programs becoming the sole intervention to impact large numbers of working Americans to consider a healthy lifestyle?

Is the C-Suite and Human Resources partnership strong enough to serve so many people who need an intervention?

Why do I ask?

 

 

I am really troubled by the obesity epidemic in America and the future impact it will have on our culture and economic well being.

Two sources that caught my attention recently and made me pause:

A powerful documentary from HBO The Weight of the Nation, in collaboration with the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and others. Check out the trailers http://bit.ly/zXkTJW.

Sitting ourselves to death? A new study by the British Medical Journal with data from the CDC on ABC News online, suggests we can add 2 years to our life expectancy by cutting back on watching TV. The story http://abcn.ws/MPGk9k

As busy working Americans, we are spending a significant amount of time sitting in a chair looking at a screen while working (at the office or at home) and watching TV at home. Let’s not forget the time we spending behind the wheel of our cars.

Strategically designed wellness programs are saving companies real money. I have read about ROI outcomes where every $1 USD dollar invested yielded $5 to $6 dollars in reduced healthcare costs. Lost work days decline. Workers’ comp insurance premiums decline. Voluntary attrition is lowered. There are tax incentives and grants available under health care legislation to incent U.S. companies to implement programs to reduce healthcare costs.

If a wellness program wasn’t present for a working American would they have any other structured opportunity to achieve a better lifestyle?

If not, are the C-Suite and HR aware that cutting the expense of a work-life program has impact well beyond their bottom line?

Create a culture for wellness that can be sustainable.

  • Make it visible. Let all employees see the C Suite, senior managers and HR execs out walking.
  • Share stories. Post as many employee success stories, and especially video, on the corporate intranet website.
  • Make it social. Encourage and allow time for employees to participate in walk-a-thons, walking meetings and other community events.