The Skinny on Health and Wellness

Health and Wellness is a major topic in our nation, regularly making headlines in the media and always a focal point in boardrooms.

Let’s just talk about Wellness spending from enterprise businesses – so understand these numbers don’t even include Small to Medium sized businesses. On average, enterprise companies implement 21 programs focused on prevention, lifestyle, condition and other wellness programs with no cuts in sight. In fact, more than half of them plan on adding an additional wellness program each year.Currently, 74% of employers offer a wellness program, and on average they are spending an increase of 35% more on each employee year over year. A tenth of U.S. employers now spend more than $500 per employee on wellness rewards and the companies spending the most on rewards reported spending nearly $3,000 per employee.


So why is preventive health measures falling under Health and Wellness so important? From PBH’s State of the Plate Report:

· 1% of adults and 2% of children meet both daily recommendations of fruits and vegetables
· More than 1 in 3 Americans are currently obese (roughly 30 pounds or more overweight)
· By 2018, 43% of Americans are expected to be obese
· In 2008, obese Americans cost the country about $147 billion in weight-related medical bills
· In 2008 the U.S. spent about $1.8 trillion in medical costs related to chronic diseases linked to obesity and smoking

Before the health care bill, the cost in weight-related medical costs to the country was expected to grow to $344 billion by 2018.


With the rising medical costs, wellness programs are essential in healthy Americans and healthy economy. Not to mention the myriad of studies showing the lowered costs of medical insurance associated with implementing preventive wellness programs.

See here for a good article on it.

So I’ve shared with you the current state of spending on health and wellness, why it’s important, and the state of our workforce. What I’d like to share with you next is a cheaper and simpler solution to creating a wellness program in your organization.


Here is the industry standard for what constitutes a strong wellness program:

If you look at the wellness wheel and think about volunteering, you’ll see that volunteering easily covers 5 of the 6 pieces of the wellness wheel and I don’t think it’s a difficult argument to include spiritual benefits.

The additional benefit of volunteering for health and wellness is that, not only is it cheaper and a great team building exercise, but you are also doing good in the community. Let’s not forget the added marketing, branding and goodwill your organization can earn from community engagement. To me its an obvious solution to a big problem, but I would love to hear your thoughts on health and wellness and what your organization does for wellness.

Data Source