Two Thumbs Up

Wellness Done Well — 3 Clues

A learning curve is leading more companies to implement wellness done well. These companies are walking away from sticks and carrots. Instead, they are constructing programs that simply make it easier for people to improve their health.

  1. Evidence-Based Treatment. Instead of telling people to go away and lose weight, thoughtful employers are increasingly pairing a wellness program with a health plan that covers evidence-based obesity treatment. According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), 38% of employers now cover bariatric surgery. The Northeast Business Group on Health (NEBGH) recommends that employers incorporate emerging innovations for obesity treatment in their plans, including new prescription drugs and bariatric surgery where indicated.
  2. Affirmation. NBGH points out that overcoming weight stigma is the biggest hurdle to making progress against obesity, a fact acknowledged by 71% of employers in their recent analysis. Susan Tufts, manager of occupational health and wellness at LL Bean, recently told the Wall Street Journal, “People who are overweight are so judged, and you just don’t know what they’re dealing with or what other issues they have.”
  3. Access at Work. Employers that are genuinely committed to evidence-based approaches for reducing the impact of obesity are giving people access to those options at work. On-site fitness facilities and WeightWatchers at Work are two obvious examples.

As always, progress is uneven. Bias creeps into the thinking around even some of the best corporate strategies. But there are plenty of signs that the thinking is evolving. Awareness is the first step.

Who is surprised that you don’t need to beat people with a carrot? They already want to be healthy. You only have to remove barriers.

Click here to read more from the Wall Street Journal. Click here for the report from NEBGH. Click here for the latest survey from SHRM on employee benefits.

Two Thumbs Up, photograph © Anthony Kelly / flickr

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