April 2013
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TD Magazine

Employee Health and Well-Being Is a Growing Company Concern

Monday, April 8, 2013

Evidence shows that employee productivity is directly related to healthy eating and regular exercise.

Researchers at the Health Enhancement Research Organization (HERO), Brigham Young University, and the Center for Health Research at Healthways found that—to no one's surprise—eating healthy and exercising at least three times a week results in higher job performance and lower rates of absenteeism.

The study, published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, contains evidence that will scare you away from the company vending machine—if your employer doesn't remove it first. Among the findings: Workers who eat healthy the entire day are 25 percent more likely to have better job performance; employees who exercise for at least 30 minutes a day, three times a week are 15 percent more likely to have better job performance; and job performance is 11 percent higher among those who are not obese.

The study also finds obese workers to have recurring absenteeism due to chronic diseases and other conditions related to their weight. In fact, their absenteeism rates are higher than those of workers who suffer from depression or other health conditions unrelated to weight.


"Well-being is gaining recognition as an important measure that relates to both the quality of life of individuals, as well as to financial measures that are important to business and government leaders," says Carter Coberley, vice president of health research at Healthways.

Many employers, conscious of the effect bad health can have on their financial success, already are making efforts to improve employees' well-being with exercise programs, the availability of healthy foods, onsite massages, or sabbatication programs. "The latest study investigating the link between employee health, performance, and productivity reinforces the business case for employers to provide comprehensive, evidence-based health management programs for their workforce," says Jerry Noyce, president and CEO of HERO.

About the Author

Stephanie Castellano is a former writer/editor for the Association for Talent Development (ATD). She is now a freelance writer based in Gainesville, Florida.

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