Wellness – It’s Not Just About the Medical

Wellness – It’s Not Just About the Medical

March 28, 2012 Health Insurance & Employee Benefits, The Beacon Blog 0 Comments

When you think about wellness programs, the first thing that generally comes to mind, is pairing a wellness program with your employee benefits; but have you thought about combining a wellness program that promotes personal, financial and occupational wellness? A comprehensive wellness program addresses all three of these.

Financial stress is the leading cause of un-healthy behaviors. According to Diabetes Care magazine, financial stress contributes to the increased risk of metabolic syndrome. (This is a name given to a group of risk factors that include CAD, stroke and Type 2 diabetes) Health care costs increase by 24% because of metabolic syndrome, and employees who experience high levels of stress experience 44% more migraines than compared to 15% for low stressed individuals.

Financial wellness programs have been proven to empower employees to take control of their finances, reduce stress and improve their overall health.  In fact, financial education helps save up to $2000 per employee per year through increased productivity and reduced health care costs.

Occupational health and safety (OHS) is a way to integrate personal wellness and occupational wellness.  It addresses the health, safety and welfare of the employees and promotes physical and mental wellbeing.  Did you know that sitting at your desk for 8 hours a day is very unhealthy?  Epidemiologist Steven Blair, a professor of public health at the University of South Carolina, has spent 40 years investigating physical activity and health.  What he found was that men who reported more than 23 hours of sedentary activity have a 64% greater risk of dying from heart disease than those who reported less than 11 hours a week of sedentary activity.  Many of these men routinely exercised.  When you sit, your muscles are not moving, and therefore slowing down your metabolism.  People who sit more have less desirable levels of cholesterol, blood sugar triglycerides and even waist size.  The moral of this story, engage employees in a daily physical activity like walking around the office for 10 minutes or playing music at a certain time to get them up and out of their desks.  You will find that employees will feel energized and stay productive as the day goes on.

Organizations that incorporate these initiatives will see a reduction in absenteeism, presenteeism and health care costs.  ROI can be seen within 18-24 months of the implementation of a wellness program, but it is important to look beyond the dollars and judge the impact of the program.

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