Around half of all workplaces in the U.S. offer health promotion or wellness programs and 17% of workplaces with 50 or more employees offer comprehensive workplace health promotion programs, according to researchers of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's Gillings School of Global Public Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and RTI International.
Laura Linnan, professor in the Department of Health Behavior at UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health and founding director of the Carolina Collaborative for Research on Work and Health, is lead author of the study which published in the American Journal of Health Promotion.
The 2017 Workplace Health in America Survey is the most recent national survey of workplace health promotion programs, and the first of its kind in 13 years. The survey assessed the current status of employer-based health promotion programs, addressing nutrition, stress, physical activity, alcohol and substance abuse, sleep and a variety of other health topics.
Other key findings from the study included:
Employers have an opportunity to shape work environments and work conditions in ways that support employee health. The Workplace Health in America Survey identifies gaps in knowledge to help practitioners and researchers set the agenda for future progress in worker and workplace health."
The study's results suggest that small employers will need focused attention, as they tend to offer fewer health programs, policies and benefits than larger employers. Given that small employers tend to have resources for safety, one strategy that the research team identified is to look for ways to integrate safety and health promotion programs in ways that create a culture of health for all employees.