Corporate Wellness Programs on the Rise, Survey Reports

December 3, 2004 ( - The number of companies offering educational programs on self-care topics is up in all seven categories covered by the American Management Association's (AMA) 2004 survey on corporate health and wellness programs.

Twenty-seven percent of the survey’s respondents said that they were offering more programs than last year, according to an AMA press release. By program:

  • There was an 8% rise to 55% of companies offering exercise and fitness programs.
  • There was an 8% rise to 49% of companies offering smoking cessation programs.
  • There was a 13% rise to 49% of companies offering blood pressure management programs.
  • There was a 13% rise to 47% in companies offering weight management programs.
  • There was a 13% rise to 46% in companies offering stress management programs.
  • There was a 16% rise to 43% in companies offering cholesterol management programs.
  • There was a 14% rise to 39% in companies offering nutrition programs.

People are using the programs, too. Seventy-two percent of respondents say they attend wellness programs when their company sponsors them, up 9% from 2003. However, only 35% of companies that offer programs provide incentives for participation. One common incentive is a discount or corporate membership at a health club, seen at 45% of companies. Twenty-two percent of respondents had exercise facilities at their company’s premises.

Thirty percent of respondents say that their companies have cafeterias that provide or sell meals; 69% assert that the selections offered are healthy.

While 36% of companies offer corporate-sponsored annual physicals, only 18% offer them to all employees. Eighteen percent are only offered to executives, according to the survey.

The flu shortage seems to have taken a toll on company programs, with 79% of the 74% who usually offer flu shots claiming that they have had to cancel or postpone their program due to the shortage.

Corporate opinion, at least in this area, seems to be more accepting of providing such benefits to employees, the survey also shows. Eighty percent of executives feel that is a duty of corporate America to promote wellness, up 9% over last year’s figure.

The survey, the 2004 Survey on Corporate Health and Wellness Programs, surveyed the members and customers at 211 companies.