Study quantifies potential health savings of wellness programs

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Chicago – Workplace wellness programs that succeed in lowering risk factors among employees could produce significant cost savings, concludes a study from Vitality Group, a provider of workplace wellness programs.

According to the study abstract, researchers used data from the Global Burden of Disease Study and Medical Expenditure Panel Surveys to estimate the yearly savings of lowering some risk factors that wellness programs commonly address. Those factors include physical inactivity, low fruit and vegetable consumption, smoking, being overweight or obese, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and alcohol abuse.

Lowering those conditions to their theoretical minimums would result in annual medical care savings of 18.4 percent or approximately $650 per worker, researchers concluded. Savings were greater for older adults and retirees – up to 28 percent, according to a press release from the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, which published the study.

The study appeared in the January issue of the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

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