Skeptics say workplace wellness programs do not yield much of a return on investment, but the ROI debate has focused primarily on lifestyle management models and narrow interpretations of ROI, writes workplace wellness adviser Jim Purcell. Studies have shown that wellness programs that prevent illness in at-risk employees and help those with chronic illnesses manage their conditions do reduce claims and thereby lower insurance premiums. Purcell says a holistic approach to workplace wellness also can reduce absenteeism and presenteeism, improve employee engagement and productivity, and increase employee satisfaction and morale.
Surveys have revealed high levels of financial stress and low levels of financial literacy in the workforce, and one retirement benefits firm has responded with a platform that helps employees get answers to retirement and financial questions. The customizable platform by AFS 401(k), called MoneyNav, is designed to have cross-generational appeal and includes blogs, videos, webcasts, calculators and budget worksheets.
Shopping malls' level surfaces, good lighting, climate control, and access to water fountains and rest rooms make them ideal for seniors who want to exercise by walking, says nursing school professor Basia Belza, who co-wrote a CDC resource guide on mall walking. Mall-walking clubs have been around for decades but are usually not well publicized. Some are partnerships of the mall, health care providers, hospitals and community groups, and may offer health screenings and nutrition talks.
The rate of suicide in the US rose 24% from 1999 to 2014, resulting in 42,773 deaths in 2014, according to a report from the CDC. Researchers found major increases in suicide rates for white women and Native Americans.
A study in Pediatrics found that children who were overweight at ages 4 or 5 and had parents who believed them to be overweight had a higher risk of excess weight gain by age 12 or 13, compared with overweight children whose parents thought they were at normal weight. The findings were based on data involving 3,557 Australian children, followed from ages 4 or 5 to 12 or 13, and their parents.
Researchers in Spain reviewed data for about 1.76 million patients and found higher rates of hand, hip and knee osteoarthritis in those who were overweight or obese than in those with normal weight. The risk of knee osteoarthritis was doubled among overweight individuals, 3.1 times higher in those with first-grade obesity and 4.7 times higher in those with second-grade obesity, according to the findings published in Arthritis & Rheumatology.
A study in Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice showed that children and adolescents with type 1 diabetes had a high prevalence of vitamin D deficiency, especially among those who were a healthy weight and Caucasian. The findings were based on 197 youths with diabetes, 23% of whom were overweight and 13% of whom were obese.
The Florence, Ala., City Council unanimously approved the purchase of a building for use as a wellness clinic for city employees and their families. Mayor Mickey Haddock said he expects the investment will pay for itself in the form of slower growth in health care costs.
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