Wellness programs not living up to the hype

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A new study finds that building effective corporate wellness programs is not as easy as it seems. Employers have blamed workers’ poor health habits for rising benefit costs and are embracing programs intended to get us to “take responsibility’ for our health, lose weight and stop smoking. However new research finds that many of these programs are a waste of money. Effective programs include personalized follow up, such as health coaching, clear commitment to the program from company leadership with a clear linkage to company goals, reasonable expectations, and careful use of incentives. Purchasing off-the-shelf, cookie-cutter programs with no employer involvement is the option most likely to fail. Unfortunately wellness, like everything else in healthcare, is labor-intensive and takes years to show financial results. WSJ blog authors offer that as they tend to lose weight on vacation, management should consider extending vacations.
Ellen Andrews