An effective workplace health program can help in promoting to workers healthy behaviors to avoid disease as well as help those already affected by disease to improve or delay disease progression. While the evidence demonstrates good workplace health programs are beneficial, some employers choose not to invest in them or to cut funding for programs they have in place because they do not believe they can effectively reduce disease risks for their employees (Goetzel & Ozminkowski, 2008). To ensure the program is effective it should have five key elements, which include health education; related employee services links; a physical and social environment that accommodates health improvement; health promotion is part of the organization’s culture; and employee screenings that include adequate treatment and follow up (Goetzel & Ozminkowski, 2008). While the program is geared toward healthy individuals, everyone at the workplace is able to benefit.
Those that benefit from the workplace health programs mainly include individuals that are generally healthy (Goetzel & Ozminkowski, 2008). An effective program is geared toward providing opportunity to those individuals who are not maintaining good health and who are at risk for acquiring preventable diseases. These individuals benefit from a health promotion program that includes encouragement of fitness and exercise, eating a healthy diet, managing weight, managing stress, controlling the use of alcohol, and practicing safe sexual behaviors (Goetzel & Ozminkowski, 2008).
Individuals that are at high risk due to lifestyle behaviors will also find benefit in a workplace health promotion program. These individuals may be smokers, are sedentary, have an unhealthy diet, have unsafe sexual behaviors, consume alcohol, or experience excessive stress (Goetzel & Ozminkowski, 2008). They may also have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high blood glucose, or excessive weight. Individuals with these risk factors benefit from a workplace health promotion program that includes hypertension screening and management programs, support for smoking cessation, and classes for weight loss (Goetzel & Ozminkowski, 2008).
Individuals already affected by ailments such as asthma, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, musculoskeletal related disorders, and depression, can benefit from a program in their workplace (Goetzel & Ozminkowski, 2008). The goal for these individuals is to improve the condition or to delay the progression of disease, through promotion of better compliance with their treatments, and changes in behaviors that reduce the risk for their disease.
Overall a workplace health promotion program is beneficial to everyone at the workplace. An effective program can help reduce risk factors for disease in healthy individuals, while helping those change lifestyle behaviors that need to improve their state of health or delay the progression of disease they may already have. The health programs are offered to individuals at the location they spend much of their time at, the workplace, which helps to improve compliance. For the employer that invests in them, an effective health program is able to yield acceptable financial returns as well.
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Goetzel, R. Z. & Ozminkowski, R. J. (2008). The health and cost beneﬁts of work site health-promotion programs. The Annual Review of Public Health, 29, 303–323, doi: 10.1146/annurev.publhealth.29.020907.090930.