Benefits and Compensation

Wellness Cultures Increase Employee Engagement

An employee’s health is strongly tied to his or her engagement in the workplace. Wellness initiatives, including programs and coaching, can foster a culture that will improve productivity and will help the bottom line.

“As employers think about areas to invest in for the New Year, one area they shouldn’t overlook is workplace health. A healthy workforce is good for business, and an example of an ailment affecting 29.1 million Americans is diabetes—which brings $245 billion in healthcare costs, including $176 billion in medical expenses and doctor visits and $69 billion from reduced productivity,” says Heidi Bowman, senior vice president and general manager of Weight Watchers Health Solutions (WWHS).
WWHS has created a white paper, “Diabetes & the Employer Priority,” which looks at the impact of diabetes on the workplace and outlines the key actions employers should take to manage and prevent diabetes. Employers can learn more about diabetes and the employer priority by clicking here.
While there is no one-size-fits-all approach, WWHS recommends the following key actions in the white paper for companies to take to reduce diabetes in the workplace:

  1. Encourage employees to undergo frequent screenings. A National Institute of Health study suggests that intensive lifestyle intervention for adults with prediabetes can reduce the development of diabetes by more than 20%.
  2. Educate and enroll employees in a disease management program and coaching. According to the American Diabetes Association treatment protocols, people with diabetes should receive individualized medical nutrition therapy, preferably provided by a registered dietitian.
  3. Enlist the help of behavior modification programs at your workplace. Making lifestyle changes is the most effective way to manage the disease and prevent it before the onset of diabetes. A number of randomized trials demonstrated that “a structured diet and a physical activity intervention while achieving modest weight loss, in overweight adults with impaired glucose tolerance (IGT), can significantly reduce the progression to diabetes.”

“Since many healthcare settings have limited capacity to offer efficient interventions, success in stemming the rise of diabetes and reducing its healthcare costs requires employers to be involved and make workplace health a priority,” adds Bowman.

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