Mama's Wellness Joint

Employers Investing in Health and Wellness

MetroHealthy LogoAt the 8th Annual Obesity Treatment and Prevention Conference in Philadelphia this week, Eileen  Seeholzer described employers investing in the health and wellness of their workforces with integrity. She was quick to express concerns about the ethics and effectiveness of narrowly-focused programs with financial penalties and incentives based on BMI. But she moved on to say:

Poor results from poorly-conceived workplace wellness programs are not evidence that investing in genuine workforce health and wellness is futile. Smart employers are investing in the health of their workforces and enjoying good results. We’re seeing it at the MetroHealth System with our MetroHealthy employee wellness initiative. Good long-term results are only possible with investing in both a culture and environment of wellness in the workplace, as well as supporting employees to develop skills and make choices that support health and well-being.

Seeholzer pointed to the impact of both shift work and sedentary jobs as particular challenges. She described a recent study in PLOS ONE of replacing long sedentary bouts and total sedentary time with more standing time, physical activity, and shorter sedentary bouts. The study has limitations because it is cross-sectional. But it suggests a potentially viable workplace strategy for reducing obesity risks.

Perhaps the fascination of some employers with wellness penalties based on BMI will pass. We certainly hope for a future where employers genuinely invest in a workplace culture that promotes health and wellness.

Click here for Seeholzer’s slides and here for the study of sedentary time in blue-collar workers.

Mama’s Wellness Joint, photograph © Ted Kyle

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June 25, 2016

2 Responses to “Employers Investing in Health and Wellness”

  1. June 25, 2016 at 8:43 am, Al Lewis said:

    As some readers of this blog may know, my particular passion is ending the “pry, poke and prod” programs which Ted says “perhaps…will pass.” If we sit back and do nothing, they won’t pass. Some vendors — and the Health Enhancement Research Organization, which is the wellness trade association — are doubling down on these programs, as well as corporate crash-dieting contests.

    Please visit https://theysaidwhat.net/2016/06/22/a-great-big-thank-you-to-employee-benefit-news/ and then click through to the linked article and ADD COMMENTS and pass it to friends. Only a grass-root outpouring of outrage will end these programs and help employers find their better angels, as Eileen Seeholzer describe.

  2. June 25, 2016 at 5:33 pm, Ted said:

    Al, I appreciate that you are there to point to the offenders and identify higher standards to seek. Thanks!