Magazine article The Futurist

Feeling Good, Working Hard: Employers Care More about Employees' Health

Magazine article The Futurist

Feeling Good, Working Hard: Employers Care More about Employees' Health

Article excerpt

Employers care more about employees' health

Workplaces are getting healthier. That is the word from a recent survey by the U.S. Public Health Service, which reports that the number of employers sponsoring health-related activities is up. The survey found that 81 % of employers offered at least one health-related activity to their employees, a 25% increase since 1985.

The 1,500 U.S. employers surveyed offered employees such activities as physical fitness, nutrition and weight control, stress management, back care, and blood pressure and cholesterol reduction. Smoking has also become a health priority with employers, and the percentage of companies with policies that prohibit or restrict smoking has more than doubled since 1985, from 27% to 59% in 1992.

"The survey results reflect a commitment by business, industry, and labor to employee health, which is encouraging in the face of financial constraints and pressures to reduce cost," says J. Michael McGinnis, the chairman of the committee that conducted the survey.

The survey showed that employers promote health-related activities in a number of ways. Seventy-two percent allow their employees to use company time to participate in such activities, 12% adjust their health insurance premiums based on a person's smoking status, 8% provide annual fixed reimbursements for health promotion expenses, and a few employers surveyed even offer subsidized discounts or reduced fees to employees for participating in community-based programs that range from quitting smoking to simple exercise classes. …

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