When it comes to wellness programs, there are two major areas in which the majority of companies can stand to improve — and one may come as shock.
The findings of a recent national study make a strong case for focusing wellness dollars in the following “needs improvement” areas:
- Obesity, and
- Prenatal care.
On obesity, the study cited some staggering figures from the Centers for Disease Control.
For example: In the U.S., obesity costs employers $117 billion annually. Over the last decade, obesity has accounted for 27% of the rise in medical costs.
When it comes to prenatal care, the U.S. comes in at 29th in the world when it comes to preventing infant mortality — with an overall infant mortality rate of around 7%.
Those numbers greatly fluctuate depending on location, employee income level, ethnicity and access to care.
A good safeguard for companies: Eliminating barriers to care (high co-pays, etc.) and focusing on the quality of prenatal and early developmental treatments in the company’s health plan.
A more detailed picture of these findings can be found on the Centers for Diseas Control Web site.