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Wellness Survey: Businesses Look to Wellness Programs to Improve Productivity and Lower Absenteeism Stress Cited as Top Health Risk Driving Wellness Programs Around the World
Date:11/17/2009

o lag behind the rest of the world in addressing stress and its related conditions such as depression, anxiety, and fatigue," said Hall. "These are among the most significant drivers of productivity loss and absenteeism, as well as increased health care costs."

Effect of Economic Downturn
Wellness programs are still most prevalent in North America, where 77 percent of responding employers offer them. However, strong growth is reported from all regions of the world, despite current economic conditions. Globally, 24 percent of respondents indicated a decreased ability to provide wellness services, and 19 percent actually enhanced their wellness initiatives.

"Wellness programs appear to be holding their own as an organizational priority," said Hall. "Despite increased pressure on employers to cut budgets, many recognize that their wellness programs can help relieve the personal burdens that often affect their employees' health and productivity. Further, the prevalence of provisions in U.S. health reform legislation in support of wellness and prevention seems likely to propel wellness to even greater attention and investment in the United States."

Fastest-Growing Wellness Components
The fastest-growing components of wellness initiatives around the world are expected to increase 100 percent or more over the next three years. These include technology-driven tools, such as Web portals, online healthy lifestyle programs, and personal health records.

On-site programs, such as caregiver support, personal health coaching, and healthy vending machine food choices are also expected to rapidly increase.

Incentive Awards
Incentive awards, designed to improve employee participation and engagement in wellness program activities, are most prevalent in the United States (offered by 56 percent of respondents). The use of incentives in the United States has increased 63 percent since Bu
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