Do Workplace Health Promotion (Wellness) Programs Work?

September 14, 2016 Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine (JOEM)

Authors: Goetzel, Ron Z. PhD; Henke, Rachel Mosher PhD; Tabrizi, Maryam PhD, MS; Pelletier, Kenneth R. PhD, MD (hc); Loeppke, Ron MD, MPH; Ballard, David W. PsyD, MBA; Grossmeier, Jessica PhD, MPH; Anderson, David R. PhD, LP; Yach, Derek MBChB, MPH; Kelly, Rebecca K. PhD, RD, CDE; McCalister, Tre’ MA, EdD; Serxner, Seth PhD; Selecky, Christobel MA; Shallenberger, Leba G. DrPh; Fries, James F. MD; Baase, Catherine MD; Isaac, Fikry MD, MPH; Crighton, K. Andrew MD; Wald, Peter MD, MPH; Exum, Ellen BS; Shurney, Dexter MD, MBA, MPH; Metz, R. Douglas DC

Objective: To respond to the question, “Do workplace health promotion programs work?”

Methods: A compilation of the evidence on workplace programs’ effectiveness coupled with recommendations for critical review of outcome studies. Also, reviewed are recent studies questioning the value of workplace programs.

Results: Evidence accumulated over the past three decades shows that well-designed and well-executed programs that are founded on evidence-based principles can achieve positive health and financial outcomes.

Conclusions: Employers seeking a program that “works” are urged to consider their goals and whether they have an organizational culture that can facilitate success. Employers who choose to adopt a health promotion program should use best and promising practices to maximize the likelihood of achieving positive results.

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