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May 27, 2008
Poll: Overall Health of Workforce Not Improving
Workplace wellness and health awareness programs have grown in popularity, particularly within the past decade. Despite these efforts, the majority of respondents to a recent survey report that the overall health of their workforce has not improved.

When asked "Has the overall health of your workforce improved over the last 5 years?," over half (58 percent) responded "No, it is about the same" while an additional 28 percent responded "No, it has gotten worse." Just 14 percent responded "Yes (thanks to wellness program, awareness, etc.)."

A new report by The Conference Board recently found that over 1 in 3 American adults fit the definition of "obese" and that obesity in the United States has doubled in the past 30 years. The report further found that health care costs associated with obesity are higher than those for smoking or problem drinking, and estimated that obesity costs private employers $45 billion each year in medical expenses and time lost from work.

The report noted that more than 40 percent of U.S. companies have implemented obesity-reduction programs and 24 percent more plan to do so in 2008 and emphasized that many companies are experiencing a worthwhile ROI for their wellness programs. For more on the report, see our previous coverage.

The poll included 118 respondents.

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