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The IHRSA Advocate is your guide to knowing and understanding the policies that influence daily health club operations. We analyze the action, so you know when to take your own.

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Entries in workplace wellness (27)

Wednesday
Jun052013

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.

Wednesday
May292013

IHRSA Plugs Importance of Employee Wellness Programs to EEOC

 

The Equal Employment Opportunities Commission held a hearing earlier this month to explore the treatment of employee wellness programs under federal law.

IHRSA commented in writing that wellness programs benefit—and are necessary for—all employees. “Because some physical activity is recommended for nearly every American - regardless of age, disability, or other factor – we are confident that physical activity-based programs may be designed to accommodate all employees.”

Wednesday
Feb132013

Proof That a Healthier Workforce Saves Money

According to Bay News, a local Florida news outlet, the Pasco County school district is proving that workplace wellness programs do save employers money, and in this case, a lot of money. During the first year of the program, the district saved $2 million in health insurance costs, saw a 34 percent drop in diabetes claims and worker compensation claims were cut in half, according to the article.

The article says teachers and employees of Pasco County schools are using three health wellness centers established two years ago to help employees “kick bad habits.” Teachers and staff lost 3,800 pounds. Employees can put together a personal plan and monitor the results with the help of a health coach and exercise physiologist.

This set up has worked for employees like Rita Echols-Mitchell, who lost 50 pounds, reduced her blood pressure and is no longer at risk for diabetes.

“It is a testament to the power of health and fitness centers, and personal trainers,” said Joe Moore, IHRSA president and CEO. “Fitness centers have more tools than anyone to help reduce overweight and obesity, chronic disease and inactivity. They are truly a primary solution to the physical inactivity epidemic.”

Wednesday
Oct032012

Workplace Wellness Works for Small Businesses

The Workforce Health Improvement Program Act (the WHIP Act) was again reinforced by a new report that details the significance of workplace wellness. The National Small Business Association and Humana, Inc. have released a new report, Wellness Programs Impact Bottom Line. “While most small businesses don’t offer health and wellness programs to their employees, three of four that offer such programs do find the initiatives have a positive impact on their bottom line,” says the report. It also points out that 93% of small business decision-makers say the health of their employees is important to their business’ bottom line. The WHIP Act would help small businesses offer cost-saving wellness programs by making memberships to off-site fitness centers tax-deductible.

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Wednesday
Sep262012

CEO Pledge Introduced for Healthy Workplaces

Twenty-seven chief executive officers made a bold commitment to exercise in the workplace yesterday by signing the CEO Pledge, a promise to provide a workplace that promotes health and wellness through physical activity. The First Signors, as they are called, were honored at a reception sponsored by Congressman Ron Kind of Wisconsin and the Congressional Fitness Caucus.

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Wednesday
Sep262012

NJ Launches "Workplace Wellness Campaign"

New Jersey is making a similar effort, asking employers throughout the state to sign a simple “wellness pledge” in order to join the newly-minted Workplace Wellness Campaign. According to the HeraldOnline.com, the new statewide effort aimed at Garden State was launched last week. The pledge states that the employer "pledges to promote wellness within our company."

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Wednesday
Aug292012

Nebraska Gov. Recognizes Workplace Wellness Leaders

The state of Nebraska is steadily becoming known as one of the healthiest states in the nation. According to a letter from Governor Dave Heineman, in just one year (from 2009 to 2010), the state rose 15 spots on the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, from 25th to 10th. This is due in no small part to Nebraskan companies taking the lead on effective workplace wellness programs, says Heinemen.

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Wednesday
Aug292012

Chicago’s Wellness Program Off to Noteworthy Start

A few weeks back, IHRSA mentioned the launch of Chicago mayor Rham Emanuel’s wellness program for city employees and their families. Since then, according to the Chicago Sun Times, “Nearly 50 percent of eligible city employees and their spouses have joined [the Mayor’s] wellness program, a running start on the mayor’s projected $20 million savings.”

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Wednesday
Jul112012

Employee Wellness Programs Good For Business, Good for Clubs

An article from Arogya, a non-profit organization aimed at reducing chronic disease worldwide, offers four fiscally sound reasons for US employers to offer wellness programs: it reduces health care costs, makes employees more productive, improves retention and helps businesses keep up with their competitors.   

These are the underlying reasons for the Workforce Health Improvement Program Act (WHIP Act/S. 1644), currently in the US Senate, which makes on-site and off-site gym memberships tax deductible. Currently, only memberships to clubs that are on-site can be deducted, while off-site facilities are considered additional income to employees. The WHIP Act would eliminate this inequity and make it easier for Americans to fit exercise into their daily routine. In fact, 78% of Americans said they would exercise more regularly if their employer subsidized a fitness center membership. 

By enacting the WHIP Act, Congress has the opportunity to create the most conducive environment possible for promoting additional workplace fitness programs at companies, both large and small. Given it’s relatively high return on investment, the WHIP Act represents a win-win wellness benefit that will put more money back into American’s pockets meanwhile promoting healthier lifestyles and reducing health care costs.

Wednesday
Mar282012

Chamber of Commerce Recognizes Workplace Wellness

On April 2, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and U.S. Chamber of Commerce Business Civic Leadership Center are hosting an event for “National Workplace Wellness Week.” The event, “Innovations in Workplace and Community Wellness,” will address the state of workplace wellness programs with an emphasis on highlighting new trends, challenges, and opportunities to improve health and wellness while also exploring how employers are partnering with community organizations to impact lifestyle choices for preventing and/or managing diseases in a cost-effective manner.

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