|Copyright:||(c) 2011 State Journal Corporation|
Gat Caperton knew his company's wellness program was working when the factory experienced a problem with fruit flies.
Sales at the office snack and soda machines had decreased about 40 percent, and his 100 employees began making apples and bananas their break time food of choice. The extra fruit consumed lead to the flies.
But for Caperton, that was a good problem to have.
Caperton, owner of
But even those workers who don't attend the meetings have changed their approach to eating and wellness, Caperton said. "There's chatter throughout the operation," he said.
"People who don't attend are talking about it. It goes further than you think."
Simple changes have brought about health improvements, Caperton said.
"People have been able to reduce their blood pressure through change of lifestyle rather than drugs," he said. "Our real goal is for people to need fewer prescriptions."
Employee wellness programs have become somewhat standard as health care costs continue to rise and companies look for ways to reduce expenses. Often, incentives such as lowered insurance premiums, or even cash bonuses, bring employees into programs that track weight, cholesterol, blood pressure and other basic health indicators.
Last year, WVU Hospitals East in Martinsburg conducted health-risk assessments for 550 employees. That number equated to about two-thirds of the hospital's eligible staff, according to Human Resources Director
"Participation is required in order to get certain incentives in your health insurance," Thomas said.
As a health care operation, it was nearly automatic for WVU Hospitals East to undertake wellness programming that includes everything from exercising to healthy eating classes to smoking cessation," Thomas said. Success with the program shows up in premium reductions of as much as 10 percent, she said.
The racetrack's employee wellness program goes beyond just physical health, though touching on both emotional and financial health. Offsite counselors, including credit counselors, are available to employees anonymously to deal with stress of any sort," Raffo said.
The racetrack also hosted a weight-loss initiative similar to the TV show, "The Biggest Loser," which offered
"We take our wellness right down to the our staff every day," she said.