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November 18, 2003
Executives Cite Responsibility to Promote Wellness

Seventy-one percent of executives say that corporations have a responsibility to promote health and wellness among their employees, but many of those companies offer no health-education programs, according to recent American Management Association (AMA) survey.

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In September, AMA surveyed 354 members and customers about their corporate-sponsored health and wellness programs. Overall, the number of programs is increasing: 31 percent of the companies surveyed offered more health and wellness programs this year than in 2002; 47 percent offered the same number and 6 percent sponsored fewer programs than last year.

Only 29 percent of the companies that sponsor health and wellness programs offer some type of incentive for employees to participate. And, more than a third of executives surveyed (36 percent) say they do not attend the programs.

In addition to educational programs, more than half (52 percent) of the companies with wellness programs extend discounts or corporate membership to health clubs to their employees, and 25 percent have exercise facilities available on the company’s premises. Another 62 percent of respondents say their organizations participate in community- or corporate-sponsored athletic activities, such as softball teams, bowling leagues or fundraiser walks/runs.

About 30 percent of respondents say their companies have cafeterias that provide or sell meals for employees, and 90 percent of those respondents say that the selections are healthy, including fruits, vegetables and low-fat entrees. And, 92 percent of the companies have vending machines that sell fast food and beverages, including candy, snacks and soft drinks. Thirty-eight percent of the companies offer corporate-sponsored, annual comprehensive physicals: 22 percent offer them to executives only, and 16 percent offer them to all staff members. Seventy-one percent of respondents say their companies provide flu shots.

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