$10 Million In Funding Available For Workplace Health Programs

PUTTING PEOPLE FIRST

In addition to the President’s Childhood Obesity Task Force, the First Lady’s Let’s Move initiative, and the National Prevention Council, which was formed to design and implement a National Prevention and Health Promotion Strategy, the government has now embarked upon another area of wellness, this time aimed at supporting workplace health promotion programs.  The United States Department of Health and Human Services announced the availability of $10 million from the Affordable Care Act’s Prevention and Public Health fund to establish and evaluate comprehensive workplace health promotion programs across the nation to improve the health of American workers and their families.

This funding will enable the development of programs promoting healthy living to be available to companies of all sizes.  Work environments that promote a healthier lifestyle by:   1) encouraging physical activity through the availability of flex-time;  2) offering healthier food choices in worksite cafeterias and vending machines and;   3) discouraging the use of tobacco, will be more easily established with the assistance from this funding.  Organizations with the expertise and capability to work with groups of employers across the country to initiate workplace health programs will compete for the contract to be awarded these funds.  Only evidence-based initiatives that improve workplace culture in support of health will be supported by the project funds.  The key to the success of these programs is the involvement of the employees in the design and implementation of the strategies. 

American businesses have been suffering from rises in health care costs and declines in worker productivity due to poor health.  Chronic diseases such as diabetes, cancer, stroke and heart disease can oftentimes be prevented by changing to a healthier lifestyle, including exercise and healthier eating.  Due to the fact that most adults spend more of their waking hours at work than anywhere else, the workplace is a crucial place to promote healthful habits.  Evidence shows that both employees and employers benefit from wellness programs.  For the employees, the benefits include weight loss, improved physical fitness and lower stress levels to name just a few.  Employer’s benefit by increasing productivity, decreasing healthcare costs, reducing employee absenteeism and increasing morale.  This funding is a win-win for employers and employees in establishing and instituting new wellness programs.

Check back soon as further information regarding funding for employers will be updated as it becomes available.

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