What percentage of your employees smoke or do not have an exercise routine?

According to the CDC, 19.3% of the population 18 and over smokes (Prevention, 2007).

According to a 2007 CNN study, 22 percent of adults exercise three to four times per week (CNN, 2007).

According to a study in the medical journal The Lancet, 68% of Americans are overweight or obese (The Lancet, 2011).

These studies tell us that your employees are still smoking, not exercising and are overweight which lead to hypertension, high blood pressure and diabetes. All three of these conditions have an impact on the bottom line. Those employees who smoke are not only causing themselves to grow unhealthier but also they are contributing to the cost of presenteeism by taking productive time out of their day with smoke breaks. They may also be causing other employees to get sick through second-hand smoke. The CDC estimates the costs of an employee who smokes to be $3,391 per smoker per year in direct medical costs and lost productivity. So, if you have 1,000 employees and the CDC says that 19.3% smoke (round it up to 20% for this example), then you would have 200 smokers in your employee population (Prevention, 2007). If 200 people smoke and it costs $3,391 per employee per year, then your yearly EXTRA cost for those employees is $678,200.

There is also a cost associated with those employees who do not exercise regularly. The costs are related to diseases like high blood pressure and diabetes and can also affect presenteeism through employee depression for those who are overweight. In fact the CDC states that “regular physical activity is one of the most effective disease prevention behaviors.

Physical activity:

  • Reduces feelings of depression
  • Improves stamina and strength
  • Reduces obesity particularly when combined with diet
  • Reduces risks of cardiovascular disease (e.g., high blood pressure and cholesterol, stroke, and type 2 diabetes)” (Center for Disease Control and Prevention)

If your employees are not exercising appropriately, their health could be at risk and your bottom line may be at risk.

Most on-site primary care clinics have a wellness program built in which has programs for smoking cessation, healthier eating and exercise among others. These programs can help reduce smoking and improve wellness which can help the company save money over the long term and have healthier employees. Many companies have their own wellness program but without a clinic attached to the wellness, you are only getting ½ of the solution. The clinic adds the aspect of a physician to refer employees to these programs and monitor them through their completion along with annual health risk assessments to track progress.