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Health and Wellness Saves Companies Big Money

A business that is lean and maximizes the productivity of its employees continues to effectively weather this economic storm. Some businesses are even able to discover new oceans of opportunity and prosperity as a result of their prudent navigation.

Doing more with your current workforce has a dramatic and positive effect on the bottom-line operating results. As owners and managers looking to maximize the efficiency and productivity of your employees, one obvious but commonly overlooked opportunity is that of your employee’s health and wellness.

According to research conducted by Duke University, the health problem of obesity costs employers $73.1 billion per year!

Using survey data from the 2006 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey and the 2008 U.S. National Health and Wellness Survey, the Duke University researchers calculated the extent to which obesity-related health problems impacted absenteeism, work productivity and medical costs.

A very interesting statistic from the research deals with “presenteeism,” or the lost productivity incurred when employees try to work despite health problems. Presenteeism costs employers $12.1 billion per year, nearly twice as much as their medical costs.

The above referenced research also reveals that severely obese individuals accounted for 61 percent of all obese employee costs, though they represent only 37 percent of the overall obese population. For those individuals who are roughly around 100 pounds overweight, the costs for employers worked out to $16,900 per capita for women and $15,500 for men.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the yearly medical costs of obesity are estimated at $147 billion, growing by more than 80% over a 5-year period according to recent studies. The greater the obesity, the higher the medical costs and now with the Duke University research, the trend extends into the workplace as well. It’s an epidemic that has found its way into our factories, offices and stores. It has grown to the point where it cannot be ignored.

As important as education and training are to your employees in order to develop knowledge, skills and abilities, it’s of equal, if not greater, importance to focus on your employees’ health. Encouraging and helping employees reach and maintain a healthy weight will increase their productivity, lower medical costs for employers and have significant impact on profits.