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Key Elements of Workplace Wellness Programs Outlined

Last Updated: October 01, 2009.

Successful workplace wellness programs combine a range of interventions that promote change at both the individual and organizational level, according to a study published online Sept. 30 in Circulation.

THURSDAY, Oct. 1 (HealthDay News) -- Successful workplace wellness programs combine a range of interventions that promote change at both the individual and organizational level, according to a study published online Sept. 30 in Circulation.

Mercedes Carnethon, Ph.D., of Northwestern University in Chicago, and chair of the American Heart Association Advocacy Coordinating Committee, and colleagues describe the essential components of a successful workplace wellness program, including activities aimed at smoking cessation and prevention, nutrition and weight management, regular exercise, and stress management. If programs are aimed at improving employees' cardiovascular health, they should also include health screening and cardiovascular disease education, the authors write.

The penetration of such programs is still low in the United States, and government agencies could help the development and evaluation of workplace programs by conducting large-scale, long-term studies into their effectiveness, the researchers conclude.

"Visionary employers are looking beyond health care costs to consider the total value of health. They understand the importance of establishing work environments that engender fulfillment, improve quality of life, forge positive links with the community, and increase productivity," the authors write. "An effective worksite wellness program can attract exceptional employees, improve on-the-job decision-making and work efficiency, enhance employee morale and organizational commitment, decrease turnover and reduce organizational conflict."

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