Cardiovascular diseases such as arteriosclerosis and congestive heart failure are the source of substantial health spending and greatly reduce the quality of life of many Americans. The American Heart Association has increasingly focused on preventive measures to reduce the risks of cardiovascular disease. AHA recently released a comprehensive policy statement on work-site wellness programs for cardiovascular disease prevention. (AHA Policy Statement) The statement identifies in some detail recommendations for the components and operation of these programs, including environmental modifications and the need for regulatory facilitation.
The statement notes the spread of workplace wellness programs among large employers and the returns in lower health costs and productivity for those employers. AHA encourages employers to focus on tobacco cessation, regular physical exercise, stress reduction, nutrition and weight management and safety in the workplace. Well-designed health education is needed and incentives are recognized as playing an important role in engaging employees in their cardiovascular health.
Aside from the importance of the organization’s endorsement of workplace wellness; this statement contains many useful references to the research around wellness programs. It should aid in the ongoing campaign to use wellness and prevention to reduce disease incidence; which should lead to better quality of life and less health spending. Vita Advisors has recently released an Issue Brief on the Value of Prevention and Wellness, which includes a discussion of work-site wellness programs. The Brief may be found under the Publications tab of this website.