Andrew Harrer | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Customers move a cart full of water through a BJ’s Wholesale Club Inc. store in Falls Church, Virginia.
For the tens of millions of American workers today enrolled in workplace wellness programs offered by four out of 5 large employers, the idea may be time to slow the treadmill.
A major fresh study suggests in which as more rigorous scientific data becomes available, wellness is actually not living up to its early promise. The workers from the study did not experience enhanced health outcomes or better job performance, as well as neither employees nor the companies saw lower health-care costs.
The study, published Tuesday from the Journal of the American Medical Association, is actually one of the first large-scale studies of a corporate wellness program designed as a randomized trial. Researchers via Harvard as well as the University of Chicago tracked employees at a broad cross-section of BJ’s Wholesale Club worksites over a period of 18 months.
“If employers are launching a wellness program with hopes of a short-term or quick savings in health expenditures or absenteeism, in which study should give them pause,” said Katherine Baicker, co-author of the study as well as dean at the University of Chicago’s Harris School of Public Policy.
The wellness program did change health behaviors as well as awareness, nevertheless the idea did not result in measurable improvements in important physical health outcomes. “You can read in which optimistically. The first step has to be paying more attention as well as having the information, capacity as well as ability to pay more attention to health behaviors,” Baicker said. “nevertheless is actually in which sufficient to reduce blood pressure or improve diabetes? We don’t have evidence in which the idea does.”
High cholesterol levels as well as hypertension did not differ between the test as well as control groups, the study found.
Randomizing the study was key to distinguishing in which data via past work on wellness, she said.
“The studies in which suggested improvements almost all suffered via not being able to tell what would likely happen from the absence of a program,” Baicker explained. “People who participate in wellness are the type of people already paying more attention to nutrition as well as exercise, as well as if you don’t have a not bad control group, you will think the idea incorporates a stronger association with positive health outcomes.”
The study of close to 33,000 BJ’s workers was conducted at roughly 0 worksites.