Half of Workplaces in America Offer Health/Wellness Programs

Atlanta, GA–Almost half of all U.S. worksites offered some type of health promotion or wellness program in 2017, according to a new study published today in the American Journal of Health PromotionExternalThe findings of the report show that worksite health promotion continues to grow in America.

The study, Workplace Health in America 2017External, is the first government survey of workplace health promotion programs in 13 years. The report captures the status of workplace health and safety programs and use of proven, effective employee health and well-being strategies. These strategies include health-promoting policies, health benefits design, and physical changes to the work environment as part of a comprehensive approach.

“More than 156 million full-time workers in the U.S. spend most of their daily waking hours in the workplace, providing employers with an important opportunity to foster a healthy and safe work environment,” said CDC Director Robert R. Redfield, M.D. “It is encouraging to see a growing number of worksites developing and promoting a culture of health for employees.”

CDC and researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Gillings School of Global Public Health surveyed nearly 3,000 diverse worksites about their health promotion programs and policies. These included for-profit, nonprofit, and government worksites of all industry sectors and sizes across the United States. In contrast, the 2004 survey looked at non-governmental workplaces only and those with 50 or more employees.  The survey had a high proportion of small employers; 77.1 percent of the respondents had less than 100 employees.  Small employers represent over 90 percent of all employers nationwide.

Nationally, almost 30 percent of worksites offered some type of program to address physical activity, fitness, or sedentary behavior. Some 19 percent of worksites offered a program to help employees stop using tobacco products, and about 17 percent of worksites offered a program to address obesity or weight management.

Workplace health promotion programs can save companies money by reducing healthcare and absenteeism costs and improving worker productivity.

Other key findings from the Workplace Health in America 2017 survey

  • The percentage of worksites with a workplace health promotion program increased with the size of the employer, ranging from 39 percent of worksites with 10-24 employees, to 60 percent of worksites with 50-99 employees, to 92 percent of worksites with 500 or more employees.
  • 69 percent of worksites that had a health promotion program, had it in place for three years or longer.
  • 20 percent of worksites offered programs to address stress management.
  • 14 percent of worksites offered programs to address excessive alcohol and other drug misuse.
  • 17 percent of worksites had a comprehensive workplace health promotion program, an increase from 7 percent in 2004.
  • Having a designated staff person, budget, and experience offering health promotion programs significantly increased the odds of having a comprehensive program.