Employer-Sponsored Wellness Programs on the Rise

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - HealthOrganizations in the Chicago area report an increase of health-improvement and wellness programs according to a survey conducted in September 2011 by Aon Hewitt in partnership with Rush Health. The survey results were released at the 9th annual Employer Symposium at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago on Thursday, March 22.

The findings of the survey showed that a number of Chicago-area employers tie incentives to health screening results and report improved health outcomes. The symposium at Rush spoke of the future of wellness and focused on strategies and opportunities to improve health outcomes and challenges employers face as incentive-based wellness programs are designed and implemented.

The survey was completed by 361 organizations representing a broad spectrum of industries in the Chicago health care marketplace. A total of 81 percent of employers target lifestyle habits that focus on physical activity, tobacco use and weight management programs. Of the organizations that focus programs on specific conditions, diabetes was most popular at 72 percent; followed by high blood pressure, heart disease and obesity. Only five percent of employers were found to not target at least one lifestyle habit versus 19 percent of employers who do not target any specific health conditions.

The survey also found that employers have begun to reward participants for following up with primary care physicians to address screening results. Two out of five employers offer incentives for participation and completion of lifestyle modification programs such as weight loss or quitting smoking.

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