Poor Employee Health Habits Drive Lost Productivity According to Major New Study of Nearly 20,000 American Workers | Business Wire

NASHVILLE, Tenn.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–New findings demonstrate unhealthy individual lifestyle choices may

result in substantially higher levels of lost productive work time,

according to a new study published in the October issue of Population

Health Management. The study, conducted with cross-sectional survey

data from 19,803 employes working at three large, geographically

dispersed companies, concluded that even one unhealthy behavior

increases the likelihood of lost productivity. Employees with an

unhealthy diet were 66 percent more likely to report having experienced

a loss in productivity than those who regularly ate whole grains, fruits

and vegetables. Employees who exercised only occasionally were 50

percent more likely to report having lower levels of productivity than

employes who were regular exercisers. Smokers were 28 percent more

likely to report suffering from a drop in productivity than non-smokers.

Researchers from Brigham Young University, the Health Enhancement

Research Organization (HERO) and the Center for Health Research at

Healthways analyzed the topic of “presenteeism” –. Being present at work,

but not performing optimally –. By demographic variables, healthy

behaviors, physical health limitations and workplace conditions.

Information was collected from participating individuals with

Healthways’ Well-Being Assessment, the individual-level instrument

designed to complement and correlate with the national and regional

well-being data collected through the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index.

“Total health-related employe productivity loss accounts for 77 percent

A Priority Health Wellness Plan is Proven to Lower Employer Costs and Improve Employee Health | Business Wire

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--In a new five-year study, Priority Health has proven that its hybrid health plan featuring wellness incentives has successfully lowered employer costs and improved employee health, a win-win development for small and large business owners alike.

More than 75 percent of the $2.8 trillion in national health care costs are due to chronic disease, such as coronary heart disease and type 2 diabetes reports the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. And according to the Michigan Department of Community Health, nearly 60 percent of Michigan’s population suffers from one or more chronic conditions; diseases that can largely be prevented by making comprehensive lifestyle changes.

The combined challenge of rising health care costs and the prevalence of chronic conditions take a toll on employee wellness, performance and attendance, and have a negative effect on employer overhead. It’s why a Tower Watson study found 66 percent of employers nationwide are looking to build a healthy workplace culture.

In 2007, Priority Health launched HealthbyChoice®, a plan designed to reward participants for getting and staying...

of all such loss and costs employers two to three times more than annual

healthcare expenses,” said lead author Ray Merrill, a Professor in the

Department of Health Science, Brigham Young University. “This study,

which analyzes an unusually large and geographically dispersed

population, represents a more comprehensive understanding of the

multitude of factors that drive presenteeism, thereby improving

employers’ ability to meaningfully address this issue.”

Findings related to physical health and healthy behaviors also revealed

that employes who'd difficulty exercising during the day were 96

percent more likely to have increased productivity loss. Those employes

who rarely eat fruits, vegetables and other low-fat foods at work were

93 percent more likely to have a higher loss in productivity. In

addition, those who didn't believe their workplace environment would

support them in becoming physically and emotionally healthier were more

likely to have a drop in productivity levels.

“We know that comprehensively measuring well-being helps employers take

steps to understand the drivers of lost productivity in their setting

and take pertinent steps to reduce it. Our research confirms that

employe productivity loss is associated with low well-being, poor

health behaviors, elevated health risks. The presence of chronic

disease,” said Dr. James Pope, vice president and chief science officer,

Healthways, Inc. “This information is significant because the number of

employes with excess body fat, poor diets, diabetes and sedentary

lifestyles has risen to unprecedented levels in the nation.”

Along with health-related factors, work-related factors such as not

having enough time to perform job duties and insufficient technological

support and or resources, had a strong and significant influence on

worker productivity loss. Personal problems and financial stress also

contributed substantially to productivity loss. Factors contributing

less to a loss in productivity included physical limitations, depression

or anxiety, inadequate job training and problems with supervisors and


The study also revealed that a productivity loss was highest among those

aged 30-39 and was lowest among those 60 and older. It was more

prevalent among women than men and among those separated, divorced or

widowed than married individuals. Clerical or office workers in the

service and transportation industries experienced the highest levels of

productivity loss. Experiencing the lowest level of productivity loss

are employes in industries such as farming, forestry, fishing,

construction and mining.

“It’s critical that companies look deeper at productivity loss and

measure it to understand the impact it's making on their bottom line,”

said Jerry Noyce, CEO of HERO. “Business leaders have the ability to

reduce the factors that significantly impact productivity loss by

implementing comprehensive, best practice workplace wellness programs

focused on well-being improvement, which in turn, can lead to

improvements in employe satisfaction, productivity and profitability

for employers.”

About the Health Enhancement Research Organization

The Health Enhancement Research Organization (HERO) is a non-profit

corporation dedicated to the creation and dissemination of employe

health management research, education, policy, strategy and leadership.

To learn more, visit www.the-hero.org.

About Healthways

Healthways (NASDAQ: HWAY) is the largest independent global provider of

well-being improvement solutions. Dedicated to creating a healthier

world one person at a time, the Company uses the science of behavior

change to produce and measure positive change in well-being for our

customers, which include employers, integrated health systems,

hospitals, physicians, health plans, communities and government

entities. We provide highly specific and personalized support for each

individual and their team of experts to optimize each participant’s

health and productivity and to reduce health-related costs. Results are

achieved by addressing longitudinal health risks and care needs of

everyone in a given population. The Company has scaled its proprietary

technology infrastructure and delivery capabilities developed over 30

years and now serves approximately 40 million people on four continents.

Learn more at www.healthways.com.

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Barbara Tabor, 651-450-1342
Media Relations
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Kelly Motley, 615-614-4984
Media Relations
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