Essay on Wellness Programs in the Workplace

Essay on Wellness Programs in the Workplace

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Introduction
Over the last several decades, an epidemic of “lifestyle diseases” has developed in the United States. In response, employers, in an attempt to increase productivity and decrease health insurance costs, have created wellness programs to combat the growing trend of unhealthy living habits. This paper will discuss the different components of a wellness program, explore a typical employer’s overall wellness strategy, and analyze incentives and trends in common wellness programs in America.
The frequency of unhealthy lifestyle choices such as inactivity, poor nutrition, tobacco use and alcohol consumption are the driving factors of today’s chronic diseases: diabetes, heart disease, and chronic pulmonary conditions. These diseases have become a major issue and burden as they lead to decreased quality of life, premature death and disability, and increased health care cost and premiums. Furthermore, while chronic diseases were once thought to be restricted to older age groups, younger generations are now becoming more affected. This shift not only adds to the economic burden but also contributes to the loss of productivity due to absence from work and also reduced performance while at work.
Background
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) identified four key behaviors – inactivity, poor nutrition, tobacco use, and frequent alcohol consumption – as primary causes of chronic disease in the United States, resulting in an increase of diabetes, heart disease, and chronic pulmonary conditions. These chronic conditions have become a major burden in the United States, as they lead to decreased quality of life and premature death and disability. The growing concern for the American people is the cost of treating ...


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...on Programs.” American Journal of Health Promotion. 18:1-6, iii, 2004.
Volpp KG, et. al., “A randomized, controlled trial of financial incentives for smoking cessation,” N Engl. J Med. 2009; 360(7):699-709; see also, Volpp KG, et. al., “P4P4P: an agenda for research on pay-for-performance for patients,” Health Affairs (Millwood), 2009, 28(1): 206-214 and Finkelstein EA, et. al., “A pilot study testing the effect of different levels of financial incentives on weight loss among overweight employees,” J. Occup. Environ. Med., 2007, 49(9):981-989.
Willingham, Rhonda. "Using incentives within the new regulatory world of the ACA to improve employee wellness and productivity." Employee Benefit Plan Review Oct. 2013: 7+. General OneFile. Web. 2 Dec. 2013
Workplace Wellness Programs Study Final Report, Santa Monica: RAND Corporation, 2012. Retrieved from http://www.rand.org/

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