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Advantages and Disadvantages of Wellness Programs

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At the level of society as a whole, public health standards have declined drastically in many respects in recent years. While the number of health problems increases, the average physical activity level of people decreases. This has further contributed to the decline in overall health among the population.

To curb this troubling trend, organizations have begun designing (or implementing) externally designed wellness programs. The basic goal of these programs is to improve the emotional and physical health of the target group of employees.

The basic idea behind any wellness program is to increase the health of the individual. This endeavor is often initiated by insurance companies, corporations and non-profit organizations on behalf of their employees or other stakeholders. The programs address health-related issues, including the emotional, physical and mental dimensions of a person’s life. They try to induce lifestyle changes in program participants by increasing their physical activity and changing their eating habits.

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Many companies offer participation incentives such as gifts, vacation days, and even discounts on insurance premiums. The success of the overall program depends on the type of target group.

The advantages and benefits associated with implementing a well-managed wellness program are profound and important. A better lifestyle – accompanied by increased physical activity – leads to a reduction in common health problems such as cholesterol, diabetes, obesity and stroke. Without adequate health, a happy and fulfilling life is not possible.

For corporations and small and medium-sized businesses, wellness programs help to increase job satisfaction. Healthier employees help the company curb healthcare spending and increase work productivity. An increase in the vitality and health of the employee is directly related to their performance at work. Stress management can also be effectively treated through wellness programs.

While wellness programs have their benefits, they also have their challenges. For one thing, the fundamental success of any program depends on the enthusiasm of the participants. Most individuals tend not to participate in such programs with the required motivation or energy. It is often difficult for individuals to take the time for such initiatives. The key to employee wellness programs is enabling the company to create an atmosphere of active participation while providing the resources needed to sustain the program. The initial investment is often substantial and will take some time to actually materialize in savings. Many employees also have privacy concerns, as many of these programs include a full health assessment. Often the employees who would benefit most from it also lack the motivation to participate.

The guiding principle for any workplace wellness program is quite simple: it is an attempt to make people’s lives better and more productive. The lack of physical activity coupled with a poor diet usually results in higher healthcare costs. The benefits associated with such a program are obvious and should never be underestimated. The fundamental obstacle to the success of any given program is the chronic lack of motivation. Only when the individual commits to correct their lifestyle can such a program be truly effective.

Thanks to Jackie Polete

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