In a recent interview with Mediaplanet & USAToday, Healthstat's own President & CEO, Crockett Dale offers his perspective on the matters at the heart of your workplace wellness program: Why bother? What’s working? How can you ensure your company’s program is working for your employees?"
Mediaplanet: Why should employers encourage employees to take a more active role in their well-being?
Crockett Dale: The first challenge is to ask ourselves: ”How healthy can a population be?” It’s a question that has to be addressed holistically, incorporating physical, mental, financial and social perspectives. In many ways, employers are in the best position to help their employees create the conditions for well-being in their individual lives. With ongoing access to quality care, an improved health care IQ and engagement in a culture of wellness, employees will have better health outcomes.
Employers will gain a healthier, more productive workforce with wiser spending of health care dollars. Employees will be better able to live in a way that promotes well-being for themselves, their families and their communities. It creates a sustainable solution for all stakeholders, and I believe it’s what employers want their legacy to be: building a successful business that’s known for making a positive contribution, present and future.
MP: What do you think is the biggest health concern of employees that employers might be neglecting?
CD: Physical inactivity is an enormous health concern that employers can directly impact. We’ve seen some forward thinking clients adopt fascinating strategies to support an increase in physical activity in otherwise sedentary environments. Of course, exercise is extremely important to good health, but if you spend your whole day sitting even an hour of vigorous exercise at the end of the day will not erase the harm of being inactive for such a prolonged period. Sedentary behavior is an independent risk factor for chronic disease and mortality, and it can also be one of the least expensive risk factors to impact. We’ve got to get people up and moving during the day. Even 10-minute bouts of physical activity can yield significant health benefits, and those intervals add up.
MP: What is one trend helping to combat the challenge you just mentioned?
CD: All changes, large and small, that get people to move more and sit less will help to improve overall health and reduce the risk of chronic disease. In some organizations, physical spaces are being redesigned to encourage movement. In other organizations, the existing physical environment is getting a second look to see how to easily incorporate more standing, walking and muscle strengthening into the daily work life.
There is a lot of promise in the growing use of wearable devices and smartphone apps, including the development of more robust technologies for gamification and data connectivity that can drive behavior modification and health improvement.