Do Workplace Wellness Programs Work?
An article published in the January 2014 issue of Health Affairs reported on cost effectiveness of PepsiCo's workplace wellness program and reported that it had no significant value when it came to financial benefit or for cutting absenteeism, quitting smoking, or reducing weight. They went on to state that regular screening for early detection of diseases such as heart attack, hypertension, cancer and other conditions was not warranted.
The author went on to challenge the Affordable Care Act's focus on wellness and prevention. We suspect that the people involved in setting up this study may have been drinking too much Pepsi!
When we compared what PepsiCo's workplace wellness program consisted of and compared it to a number of other workplace wellness programs, we could see why it failed. PepsiCo's programs were far less experiential that those of companies such as Google, MD Anderson's Cancer Center, the Yale-New Haven Hospital, American Specialty Health, American Express, Johnson & Johnson, the Mayo Clinic and many others. These companies had 24 hour fitness centers with personal trainers and coaches, workshops, personalized nutrition assessments, cafeterias with healthy food, clubs for vegetarians, classes with Zumba, spin, Yoga, and much more.
These programs also reported as much as a 42% success rate in quitting smoking, 55% success in weight reduction, lowered stress in 58%, and health care cost reductions of $400 per person per year!