More Workers Seeing Health Benefits in Wellness Programs

February 16, 2011 ( – Achieving better overall health is the top reason American workers (43%) report they participate or would participate in a wellness benefit program according to the latest Principal Financial Well-Being Index.

A news release said other reasons cited for participating in a wellness program included reduced personal health care costs (33%) and a greater chance of living longer and healthier lives (31%). The survey also found more than half (53%) of workers use weight management programs offered by their employers, a 25 percentage point increase over last year. This trend is echoed by a 21 percentage point increase in workers’ use of personalized action plans for high risk conditions to 68%, and an eighteen percentage point increase in workers’ use of blood sugar screenings to 84%.

“This dramatic increase in workers taking advantage of these wellness benefits is indicative of Americans’ greater sense of personal responsibility towards their own health,” said Lee Dukes, president of Principal Wellness Company, in the news release. “With health care costs on the rise and increasing public awareness of illnesses like diabetes and heart disease, Americans are ready to take action. Workplace wellness gives employees a convenient, simple way to get started.”

The survey found that 43% of workers agree wellness benefits motivate them to work harder and perform better. Over a quarter (28%) of workers surveyed believe they have missed fewer days of work as a direct result of participating in a wellness program and 38% of workers attributed wellness programs to improved energy and productivity at work. Nearly half (48%) of workers surveyed agreed that wellness benefits encourage them to stay in their current employment situation.

The poll was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive between October 20 and October 28, 2010, among 1,159 workers and 528 retirees.