More U.S. employers are offering workers tangible incentives to adopt healthy habits, and the trend is gaining momentum worldwide, according to an article published in Benefits Quarterly (2008; [second quarter], 12–22). In addition to providing educational sessions, many companies now reward employees for participating in healthy activities, achieving certain fitness goals or adhering to longer-term health maintenance plans. Activities that employers typically reward include taking a health risk assessment, participating in workplace health challenges and tracking healthy living activities. Rewards vary and may include cuts in healthcare premiums, contributions to health savings accounts, merchandise, vacation time or cash.
According to a 2007 Buck Consultants survey of 555 employers, the practice of offering rewards for healthy behavior will more than double over the next 2–3 years. As more companies adopt wellness, health promotion or health improvement programs, the opportunities for fitness professionals to work with corporate workers will also grow, since the majority of these programs include increasing physical activity.
For more information about the survey, go to www.bucksurveys.com.