June Is National Employee Wellness Month
|Author: Shelly Nolloth|
Date: Monday, June 20th, 2011
|Return to Archive|
For many companies, the realization that it is in their best interest (not to mention, their bottom line), to have happy and healthy employees, has been a slow climate change. The desire for instant return on investment (ROI) to justify cost does may leave some companies skeptical - but others are taking a proactive approach. Employers pay 36 percent more for health care than five years ago and employees are paying 44 percent more.
The associated ailments of activity are back and knee injuries, hypertension, weight gain and high cholesterol. What follows are diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and some cancers.
Like a Virgin
You may be wondering, what is Virgin HealthMiles? It's not a gym in the sky. Richard Branson may have the Midas touch for business, but his heart is in the right place. Boyce explained that Branson wanted to have a product to help people live healthier and happier lives. Branson's vision was to create a business to help companies incentivize wellness. Their current portfolio of clients has over 120 companies and more than 700,000 employees enrolled.
Right now, there are 40,000 people in 90 companies throughout the U.S. competing against each other to be the most physically active. They are getting their results in real time. Participants receive a pedometer that transmits the results into the data base. No more dependence on user input for tracking (or cheating). Social networking has become an integral part of the program and is helping to promote a culture of wellness in a fun and easy manner.
What Are the Costs?
For employers, the cost is $20 per employee. There is a calculator on the Virgin HealthMiles website for employers to determine their savings (us.virginhealthmiles.com). It is up to the company to decide what to reward their employees with... for some, it is reduced cost of health insurance, gift cards to local retailers and ins some companies, up to $500 back for reaching health goals.
The real reward is improved health outcomes - as the number crunchers see improvements in blood pressure, blood glucose, cholesterol, and heart rate. Lower numbers means decreased costs for illness. The Ochsner health system in Lousiana had 81 percent enrollment in Virgin HealthMiles program. Half of their employee members earned premium discounts in 2010: 89 percent improved or maintained their BMI, 82 percent lowered or maintained their blood pressure. Show me the money? Ochsner's 2010 health plan costs only increased by three percent compared to a national average of ten percent AND employee-only medical claims were down compared to 2008 by $3 million.
Among the most important gains for companies are the intangibles. According to LuAnn Heinen, Vice President of the National Business Group on Health, "employees are more engaged at their job and in their workplace, have greater job satisfaction and commitment to their employer because their employer cares about their health."
Changes in the Workplace
Heinen added that part of that culture change includes improvements in foods offered in cafeterias and vending machines, walking paths, and open stairwells for walking. Some employers, like the Cleveland Clinic, encourage "walking meetings" where employees display colored tags to let others know they are in a meeting and not to be disturbed.
Literally. Strategies to Overcome and Prevent (STOP) Obesity Alliance is a sponsor of the third annual National Employee Wellness Month in partnership with Virgin HealthMiles. Just about every national health care organization is a member of the STOP Obesity Alliance, because there is more power in numbers in order to improve the health of Americans.
This topic is near and dear to me because my doctoral research was in worksite wellness. We spend more hours each day and week at work, so removing barriers to improved health - especially opportunities to increase daily physical activity, are relatively inexpensive things that people can do while at work. My favorite tip: take a five minute walk every hour... you can accumulate 40 minutes of physical activity in an eight-hour work day. More is even better, but this is a great way to start.
- All Categories
- Academic Outreach
- Continuing & Professional Development
- Distance Learning
- Summer Sessions
- Winter Term
- Career & Workforce Development
- Lifelong Learning
- Society for Lifelong Learning
- WKU On Demand
- Study Away
- Faculty-Led Study Abroad
- Center for Faculty Development
- Cohort Programs
- Dual Credit
- Conferencing & Catering
- All Categories
- CHHS October 2011 E-Newsletter
- CHHS November 2011 E-Newsletter
- CHHS December 2011 E-Newsletter
- CHHS January 2012 E-Newsletter
- CHHS February 2012 E-Newsletter
- CHHS March 2012 E-Newsletter
- CHHS April 2012 E-Newsletter
- CHHS May 2012 E-Newsletter
- CHHS June 2012 E-Newsletter
- CHHS July 2012 E-Newsletter
- CHHS August 2012 E-Newsletter
- CHHS September 2012 E-Newsletter
- CHHS October 2012 E-Newsletter
- CHHS November 2012 E-Newsletter
- CHHS December 2012 E-Newsletter
- CHHS January 2013 E-Newsletter
- CHHS February 2013 E-Newsletter
- CHHS March 2013 E-Newsletter
- CHHS April 2013 E-Newsletter
- CHHS May/June 2013 E-Newsletter
- CHHS July 2013 E-Newsletter
- Archived CHHS News
- CHHS October 2013 E-Newsletter
- CHHS November 2013 E-Newsletter
- CHHS December 2013 E-Newsletter
- CHHS February 2014 E-Newsletter
- CHHS November 2014 E-Newsletter
- CHHS May 2014 E-Newsletter
- CHHS April 2014 E-Newsletter
- CHHS June 2014 E-Newsletter
- CHHS July 2014 E-Newsletter
- CHHS December 2014 E-Newsletter
- CHHS August 2014 E-Newsletter
- CHHS September 2014 E-Newsletter
- CHHS October 2014 E-Newsletter
- CHHS January 2015 E-Newsletter
- CHHS February 2015 E-Newsletter
- CHHS May 2015 E-Newsletter
- CHHS September 2011 E-Newsletter
- CHHS August 2011 E-Newsletter
- CHHS July 2011 E-Newsletter
- CHHS June 2011 E-Newsletter
- CHHS May 2011 E-Newsletter
On Saturday (May 16), 61 students representing 37 counties from across Kentucky were recognized during The Gatton Academyís eighth graduation ceremony in Van Meter Hall.
Seniors Brian Carlson, Ben Guthrie, Paul Hudson, Ben Riley and junior Rohan Deshpande were members of the team who traveled to Washington, D.C. to compete at the 25th National Science Bowl.
download Adobe Acrobat Reader.
Note: documents in Excel format (XLS) require Microsoft Viewer,
Note: documents in Word format (DOC) require Microsoft Viewer,
Note: documents in Powerpoint format (PPT) require Microsoft Viewer,
Note: documents in Quicktime Movie format [MOV] require Apple Quicktime,