Study: Many Americans Say They Are More Likely to Participate in a Fitness Routine If Given Opportunity to Socialize, Earn Financial Incentives | Business Wire

MINNETONKA, Minn.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–More than two-thirds of Americans say an incentive of as little as $2

per day would motivate them to devote at least an hour each day towards

improving their health, while nearly 60 percent of people say they'd

be more likely to participate in a fitness routine if the program

offered an opportunity to socialise or make friends, according to a new

nationwide survey.

These are some of the findings from the 2019 UnitedHealthcare Wellness

Checkup Survey, which examines people’s opinions about health topics

and preferences, offering insights to help improve employer-sponsored

well-being or disease-management programs. The survey’s key findings


  • Opportunities to socialise, earn financial incentives appeal to

    many. More than half (57 percent) of survey respondents said they

    would be more likely to consistently participate in a fitness routine

    if the regimen provided a social component, either in-person or

    virtually. Among employees with access to a well-being program, 67

    percent said it was important that their significant other or family

    members have the opportunity to participate, too. Across all

    respondents, more than two-thirds (68 percent) said an incentive of as

    little as $2 per day would motivate them to devote at least an hour

    each day towards improving their health.

  • Many people are optimistic about remaining healthy as they age. More

    than half (53 percent) of survey respondents anticipate being able to

    accomplish everyday activities until 80 or older, including 11 percent

    saying those tasks will “never” be an issue. Gen Xers – defined as

    people between 39 and 54 years old – were the most optimistic, with

    nearly three-quarters (74 percent) expecting to maintain their health

    beyond 80, including 15 percent saying health issues will never

    prevent them from accomplishing everyday tasks. However, one

    study concluded that 42 percent of Americans 80 or older have

    functional limitations, such as the inability to walk a flight of


  • Healthy diet, access to medical care and stopping smoking top

    priorities. Survey respondents considered a healthy diet, such as

    eating fruits and vegetables, as the top priority when trying to

    improve their health, with a mean score of 4.5 (5 being “extremely

    important”). That was followed by access to routine medical care, such

    as an annual physical (4.4). Stopping smoking and/or reducing drinking

    (4.4). Getting sufficient sleep (4.3). Engaging in strength or

    cardiovascular training (4.3). Increasing social activity (3.7).

    improving mindfulness (3.6).

  • Most people underestimate the connection between lifestyle choices

    and chronic conditions. About one-fifth (22 percent) of survey

    respondents correctly recognized that 80

    percent or more of the incidence of premature chronic conditions,

    such as heart disease, stroke and diabetes, are generally caused by

    modifiable lifestyle choices, such as risk factors like smoking or

    obesity, as opposed to being caused by genetic factors. More than

    one-third (38 percent) thought between 50 percent and 79 percent of

    premature chronic conditions were caused by lifestyle choices, while

    32 percent said genetics were to blame for more than half of these


“This year employers are expected to invest an average of more than $3.6

million1 on their respective well-being programs. Over 60

percent of employees2 are interested in engaging in these

initiatives. The UnitedHealthcare Wellness Checkup Survey

provides insights that we hope can be helpful to enhance the design and

implementation of well-being programs, which may help improve employees’

health, reduce absenteeism and curb care costs,” said Rebecca Madsen,

UnitedHealthcare chief consumer officer.

Many U.S. companies are investing in wellness programs, with more than

two-thirds (67 percent) of companies planning to expand these

initiatives during the next few years, according to a recent

study by the National Business Group on Health. A separate

study published in The American Journal of Cardiology concluded that

one employer’s well-being initiative generated a six-fold return on

investment and reduced health risks for people enrolled in the program.

Many Employees Say Well-being Programs Have Improved Their Health,

More than half (57 percent) of people with

access to wellness programs said the initiatives have made a positive

impact on their health. Of these, 82 percent said they were motivated to

pay more attention to their health. 63 percent said they increased

physical activity. 59 percent improved their diet. 30 percent

reported improved sleep. More than one-quarter (27 percent) said the

program helped detect a disease or medical condition, while 8 percent

said they stopped smoking or using nicotine.

In regard to job performance among those who said the well-being program

made a positive impact on their health, 50 percent said the initiative

helped reduce stress. 49 percent reported improved productivity. 35

percent said they took fewer sick days. About one-quarter (26 percent)

reported no impact on job performance.

Among employees without access to wellness programs, 70 percent of

respondents said they'd be interested in such initiatives if

offered, including 43 percent who are “very interested.” More than

three-quarters (77 percent) of Gen Xers said they wanted access to a

well-being program, more so than any other age group.

About the Survey
The UnitedHealthcare Wellness Checkup

Survey was conducted April 11-15, 2019, using the Engine Telephone

CARAVAN® survey among a landline and mobile phone probability sample of

1,000 adults ages 18 and older living in the continental United States.

The margin of error was plus or minus 3.1 percent at the 95 percent

confidence level. For complete survey results, click


About UnitedHealthcare

is dedicated to helping people live healthier lives and making the

health system work better for everyone by simplifying the health care

experience, meeting consumer health and wellness needs. Sustaining

trusted relationships with care providers. In the United States,

UnitedHealthcare offers the full spectrum of health benefit programs for

individuals, employers. Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries.

contracts directly with more than 1.3 million physicians and care

professionals. 6,000 hospitals and other care facilities nationwide.

The company also provides health benefits and delivers care to people

through owned and operated health care facilities in South America.

UnitedHealthcare is one of the businesses of UnitedHealth Group (NYSE:

UNH), a diversified health care company. For more information, visit

UnitedHealthcare at

or follow @UHC on Twitter.

1 National Business Group on Health, 2019

2 Rand Corporation, Incentives for Workplace Wellness

Programs, 2015


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Will Shanley
(714) 204-8005
[email protected]