Despite Recession, Workplace Wellness Programs Continue to Grow

By Staff Report

Apr. 16, 2009

Employers are continuing to add workplace wellness programs despite the ongoing recession, according to a survey by Watson Wyatt Worldwide and the National Business Group on Health.

Nearly 58 percent of companies surveyed offer lifestyle improvement programs, up from 43 percent in 2007, and 56 percent offer health coaches, compared with 42 percent two years ago, according to the survey of 489 large U.S. employers conducted in January.

However, employee participation remains low.

Forty percent of companies surveyed said less than 5 percent of their workers participate in a weight-management program offered. Financial incentives do help drive participation in smoking-cessation and weight-management programs, the employers reported.

Effective financial incentives are one of the keys to encouraging worker participation in these programs,” Scott Keyes, senior group and health care consultant at Watson Wyatt, said in a statement.

Filed by Rebecca Vesely of Modern Health Care, a sister publication of Workforce Management. To comment, e-mail

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