Do workplace health and wellness programs actually improve the health of the employee?


A new report in Modern Healthcare says no, but it also raises an interesting debate.

“Researchers found that workplace wellness participants exercise more, actively manage their weight and have other healthier behaviors than their peers outside of the programs. However, they don’t have lower body mass index, blood pressure or cholesterol, according to an analysis published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association. It’s the first large-scale, randomized clinical trial examining the causal health effects of the employee programs.”

However, “Another study in Health Affairs from Dr. Zirui Song, assistant professor of healthcare policy and medicine at Harvard Medical School and Dr. Katherine Baicker, dean of the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy, found that medical costs were reduced by $3.27 for every $1 spent on wellness programs. Costs associated with absenteeism fell by $2.73 for each dollar spent.

“It just makes sense that if my population does engage in healthy behaviors they will have healthier outcomes and they will be more productive,” said Mark Brittingham, CEO and co-founder of BSDI, a New Jersey-based corporate wellness technology provider.

And maybe less stressed.

The American Institute of Stress says that job stress is far and away the number one cause of stress for American adults.