Workplace Wellness

POSTED: Thursday, October 1, 2009 - 8:11am

UPDATED: Thursday, June 3, 2010 - 11:58pm

It pays to keep workers healthy, even if employers have to foot the bill to get them there. Health experts say workplace wellness initiatives are proven strategies when it comes to preventing serious diseases and keeping company health care costs down.

At Frito Lay's corporate headquarters in Plano, Texas managers encourage their employees to schedule exercise into the work day. "As an employer, what we get is the employees come back to work, says Frito Lay's Myra Franke. "They have this renewed sense of energy. They have this new focus on their work."

Renewed focus isn't the only benefit. Exercise reduces the risk for heart disease and cancer, costly diseases for employers who pay for health insurance.

The American Heart Association says that for every dollar companies spend on workplace health and wellness programs, they can save three to 15 dollars in reduced health care costs. Other examples of wellness programs include stress and weight management, offering healthy snacks in cafeterias and support for smokers who want to quit.