U.S. health care costs have increased from $1,100 per person in 1980 to $10,345 in 2016. Currently $1.5 trillion, 75% of all health care spending, is devoted to treating chronic diseases which are often preventable. Obesity and complications (diabetes, cancer, and heart disease) are responsible for an estimated $147 billion a year.
More than 130 million Americans suffer from chronic disease. A recent Partnership for Prevention report claims that eliminating just three risk factors – poor diet, inactivity and smoking – would prevent 80% of heart disease, stroke, Type 2 diabetes, and 40% of all cancers in the U.S.
Another study conducted by Emory University revealed that obesity is the fastest growing public health challenge our nation has ever faced. The rates of obesity have increased from 12% in 1989 to 28% in 2010. Unless positive steps are taken, direct health care costs for obesity are expected to climb to $344 billion (The Future Costs of Obesity, 2009 – Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation).
The U.S. workforce is truly the backbone of our economy. Employers are a critical piece of the solution to the current health care crisis and obesity epidemic, which is why having an employee wellness program is so important. Businesses need strategies for developing sustainable, adaptable programs that work to improve employee health and lower costs. Human Resource professionals are uniquely positioned to serve as catalysts in their organizations to educate and support employees through programs that promote wellness such as offering corporate wellness programs, or the accessibility for an online fitness membership or an online weight loss program. Properly designed wellness programs can play a pivotal role in cultural reform and turning the tide on the all health issues and related costs.
Employee absenteeism and presenteeism (defined as the loss of productivity due to employees who report to work but are less productive due to illness) due to chronic illness has a detrimental affect on profitability. Almost 80% of workers have at least one chronic condition and 55% have more than one chronic condition. Lost economic output associated with absenteeism and presenteeism is costing American businesses $1 trillion a year (U.S. Workplace Wellness Alliance, 2009).
Corporate wellness programs can improve workforce morale, improve productivity, reduce absences, attract and retain employees, reduce costs, improve workforce safety, promote corporate image and fulfill social responsibility from a community perspective.
You Can Lead the Charge
The big question today is will you be out in front leading positive change or reacting to a crisis after it erupts? American business leaders have an opportunity to initiate a culture of health and wellness in their organizations — not only because it is socially responsible, but it is good for the bottom line as well. Executives who exhibit strong vision and model desired behaviors will have a distinct advantage over those who sit back and watch as their options spiral out of control.
May I Help?
ONBOARD 101 is just one of the many educational tools I use to help people toward new healthy lifestyle choices and behavior.
If, after your review, you feel my corporate wellness program would be a good fit for your company, you may add Onboard 101 to your Employee Wellness Program immediately by visiting my Health and Wellness Store. If you have any questions, I am just an email away. I would look forward to discussing the possibilities my online Health and Wellness programs can bring to your company.