Workplace wellness programs not only for the sick: study

Employee wellness programs should include all employees, not only those who are already in poor health, indicates recent research from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

According to a U-M press release, researchers collected data from three different employee groups at Allegiance Health hospital in Jackson, MI, based on their participation levels. Over four years, participation in wellness programs grew to 77 percent, but the number of employees classified as "high risk" fell to 12 percent from 19 percent, the release said.

Employees received $200, later reduced to $190, to be screened and complete three counseling sessions and three health modules. A cost analysis is pending to determine if the savings justify the incentives and cost of the wellness program.

The study appeared in the August issue of the Journal of Health & Productivity.

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