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Take RAND Report With Grain of Salt

A report from the RAND Corp. claiming employee wellness programs produce “modest” results should be taken with a grain of salt, especially by health clubs that offer employee or corporate wellness programs. 

RAND developed the report for the US Department of Health and Human Services, and was requested by Congress. Many of its findings are mystifying. For instance, the report found that people who participate in such programs lose an average of only one pound a year for three years. Advocates for wellness programs poked holes in RAND’s methodology, which involved comparing the programs and medical claims of 600 companies, each with at least 50 employees.

Not all wellness programs are created equal, said Keith Lemer to Reuters. Lemer is president of WellNet, which provides programs to a number of large US companies. "Traditional workplace wellness barely scratches the surface. Done right, (the program) requires the integration of clinical data, wellness, health coaching, and workflow.” The initiatives succeed if they have "senior level support and a high-degree of employee engagement in healthy behaviors,” he said.

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