On-Site Programs Help Companies Trim Costs--and Waistlines
Making News:Worksite wellness continues to move to the forefront of employers’ concerns as sick days and injuries hamper productivity and damage bottom lines. Now, more than ever, companies are implementing programs to help employees make healthy lifestyle choices. What’s more, these programs seem to be working.
A research review published in the July–August issue of the American Journal of Health Promotion (2008; 22 , 408–16) found that worksite interventions did in fact help employees make short-term healthy changes. The authors reviewed 11 studies published since 1994 to determine whether employer-sponsored weight management programs were effective in helping staff drop pounds. Results suggested that “worksite-based weight loss programs can result in modest short-term improvements in body weight; however, long-term data on health and economic outcomes are lacking.”
One organization looking to improve the health of its employees is Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska. The university’s department of human resources and departments of pharmacy practice and cardiology are leading a yearlong pilot program, in which 15 employees will participate in hopes of reducing their cardiovascular problems. Previously diagnosed with high blood pressure and/or high cholesterol, the employees will receive counseling on nutri- tion, physical activity, weight loss/management and tobacco cessation. The employees must be enrolled in the university’s healthcare plan in order to be eligible for the study. All associated costs (counseling, medications and exercise privileges at The Cardiac Center) will be absorbed by the school.
“This program is designed to help employees prevent cardiovascular disease by making positive lifestyle changes,” stated Thomas Lenz, PharmD, associate professor of pharmacy practice and program clinical director. Lenz believes that, if successful, all involved will reap the benefits. “The patients reduce their health risks and improve the quality of their lives, and the university helps control rising costs associated with employee health insurance, sick days and disability,” he added.
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