Worksite Health Programs Boost the Bottom Line: Study

Better control of diabetes, heart disease means more productive workers

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FRIDAY, May 11, 2007 (HealthDay News) -- Workplace health programs can help employees better control their blood pressure and diabetes, and that can benefit employers, too, a new U.S. study finds.

In this study, researchers followed 2,100 workers at JEA, a municipal utility in Jacksonville. Fla., for three years. The workers took part in JEA's comprehensive wellness system that includes health screenings, coaching, live and written health education information, and an incentive program to encourage participation.

Over the three years (2004-2006), employees who took part in the program improved their blood pressure control by 9 percent and their diabetes control by 15 percent. The percentage of employees with normal blood pressure increased from 28 percent to 37 percent, and the percentage with normal blood sugar increased from 43 percent to 58 percent.

Also during that time, the number of JEA employees who missed work due to hypertension fell from 25.8 percent to 15.6 percent, and the number who missed work due to diabetes decreased from 50 percent to 16.9 percent.

The percentage of non-smokers increased from 86 percent to 89 percent, and the number of employees who described their health status as "excellent or very good" increased from 41.7 percent to nearly 51 percent.

There was also a drop in the number of workplace accidents, from 83 in 2003 to 25 in 2006. Of the 83 incidents in 2003, 20 resulted in time away from work, compared with seven of the 25 incidents in 2006.

Sharon A. Clark, JEA's health promotion specialist, led the study. The findings were expected to be presented May 10 at the American Heart Association's Scientific Forum on Quality of Care and Outcomes Research in Cardiovascular Disease and Stroke in Washington, D.C.

More information

The American Academy of Family Physicians has more about healthy living.

SOURCE: American Heart Association, news release, May 10, 2007

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