Workplace wellness programs yield unimpressive results in short term

Tuesday, April 16, 2019 - 18:00 in Health & Medicine

Workplace wellness programs have been touted as a powerful tool that can make employees healthier and more productive while reducing health care spending, but the results of a new Harvard study suggest such interventions yield unimpressive results in the short term. The findings, published April 16 in The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), raise questions about the effectiveness of these programs offered by 80 percent of large U.S. employers via an $8 billion workplace wellness industry. The analysis, the first peer-reviewed, large-scale, multisite, randomized controlled trial of a workplace wellness program, shows that people who worked at sites offering the program exhibited notably higher rates of some healthy behaviors, but no significant differences in other outcomes and behaviors compared to the control group. Employees working at sites offering the program did not have better clinical measures of health such as body mass index, blood pressure, or cholesterol after 18 months, nor...

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