Magazine article Occupational Hazards

Will Business Take the Carrot? as Health Care Costs Climb, Workplace Wellness Programs Become an Increasingly Attractive Tool for Businesses-And Safety Managers

Magazine article Occupational Hazards

Will Business Take the Carrot? as Health Care Costs Climb, Workplace Wellness Programs Become an Increasingly Attractive Tool for Businesses-And Safety Managers

Article excerpt

Health care costs this year will hit nearly $2 trillion. Benefits experts predict health care costs will increase 8 percent in 2005. Towers Perrin Health Care Cost Survey notes that while this appears to offer some relief from recent annual increases, "closer analysis reveals that, dollar for dollar, the cost increase in 2005, at an average of $582 per employee, is still unsustainable for most employers."

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While health care cost increases are spurred by a complex web of factors, one thing is clear: Americans--and their employers--are paying a high price for a lifestyle that is frequently unhealthy. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, 129 million Americans are overweight or obese, a condition that puts them at risk for diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease, and 60 percent of Americans do not get enough exercise. In combination, these problems account for 400,000 preventable deaths a year.

Dr. Charles Schutz, chief medical officer for Destiny Health, points out the disparity between the national statistics cited above and how we see ourselves. …

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