More Employers TURN TO Boost Worker Well-being And Health

A growing number of American employers are doing exactly that through workplace health programs. Their goal: to improve employee health insurance and productivity and reduce absenteeism credited to disease and chronic disease while possibly reducing healthcare costs. For employees, these programs can mean a far more pleasant lifestyle and more job satisfaction.

Dr. Gregg Fonarow, the Eliot Corday Teacher of Cardiovascular Technology and Medication at UCLA. Day Those who work regular spend on average more than one-third of their, five days a week, at work. Workplace wellness programs could potentially reach more than 159 million workers nationwide, according to the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control.

What do these health and fitness programs appear to be? They differ in the proportions and scope. Many companies offer direct advantages to workers, such as access to gyms, exercise equipment, well-balanced meals at the nutrition or office counseling. Others give financial incentives for participation in a weight loss or smoking cessation plans.

Some companies even design structures to encourage physical activity such as taking the stairs rather than elevators. Workplace wellness programs started to take hold about 20 years ago, often with a one-size-fits-all approach. Now, more programs are individualized and targeted with metrics to measure results, Fonarow said. The Kaiser Family Foundation’s 2017 Employer Health Benefits Survey found about one-fifth of small companies and fifty percent of large companies that offer health advantages offer employees a chance for a biometric testing. It’s important to create a thorough program using “science-based guidelines,” said Fonarow, who chair the American Heart Association’s office health acknowledgement committee.

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In 2015, the AHA released suggestions on effective workplace wellness programs produced by a -panel of experts and published in the journal Circulation. They mentioned that workplace wellness programs are not comprehensive, that they range in quality, and that they would be more powerful if they included requirements to measure cardiovascular fitness, which impacts many other aspects of health.

Heart disease is the best cause of death in America, and stroke is the fifth-leading cause of death. Workplace health and fitness programs have the potential to prevent several deaths, the authors said. Their recommendations are meant to serve as a blueprint for employers in designing a workplace health and wellness program. The panel highlighted the AHA’s Life’s Simple 7, a couple of measurements offering specific steps toward preventing cardiovascular disease.