Workplace health promotion

Media coverage of the obesity epidemic in Australia and the resulting cancer burden nicely emphasizes the role of workplace changes that can help promote wellness –

Growing evidence shows such workplace wellness programs save money and reduce costs for the health system. This is a win-win situation. David Cutler and colleagues write in Health Affairs (Jan 2010): “Amid soaring health spending, there is growing interest in workplace disease prevention and wellness programs to improve health and lower costs. In a critical meta-analysis of the literature on costs and savings associated with such programs, we found that medical costs fall by about $3.27 for every dollar spent on wellness programs and that absenteeism costs fall by about $2.73 for every dollar spent. Although further exploration of the mechanisms at work and broader applicability of the findings is needed, this return on investment suggests that the wider adoption of such programs could prove beneficial for budgets and productivity as well as health outcomes.” These data clearly show it is time to act across all types of workplace.

Since we live in communities, we should also remember that school-based programs that help our children grow up healthier are an important adjunct to workplace programs.

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