Companies save money when workers lose weight

Employers are beginning to see the results of wellness and fitness programs and the sound is Kah-Chink in their coffers. In a time of annual double-digit health care cost increases, many companies have found wellness programs are an inexpensive and effective way to stabilize costs. It is estimated that for every $1 spent on wellness, $16 is saved in productivity, absenteeism and health care premiums. Cheetos have given way to fruit with workers walking on their lunch hours.

Some companies are reporting a change in corporate culture where employees scold each other for unhealthy choices and the cafeteria has only balanced meals. Workers know that their health care costs are affected by the utilization of services and they urge each other to get healthy.

Well, it is about time. I have been preaching the removal of the soda machines, pastries in the kitchen, and candy at every desk for a very long time. Hopefully the days of eating any dried up piece of donut next to the coffee maker are gone. Employers should be leading the way to a healthier lifestyle. After all, they are the ones paying the tab.

Now if we can just get Wisconsin to go smoke free, we will have made some real progress.

Barbara Bartlein is the People Pro. For her FREE e-mail newsletter, please visit: The People Pro.

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