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NCDs are the leading drivers of healthcare costs, leading to higher absenteeism and lower productivity in the workplace. The World Economic Forum (WEF) and the Harvard School of Public Health project that the global economic impact of cardiovascular disease, chronic respiratory disease, cancer, diabetes, and mental illness could amount to an output loss of $47 trillion over the next two decades. A WEF survey of business executives from around the world identified NCDs as one of the leading threats to economic growth. Many NCDs are associated with risk factors such as tobacco use, unhealthy diet, physical inactivity, and harmful levels of alcohol use. These are preventable through environmental and behavioral interventions to alter lifestyle habits.
Because most working-age adults spend more than half of their waking hours at work, the workplace has the potential to influence their environment, behavior, and economic status, generating improved health outcomes for themselves, their families, and communities. Accordingly, the World Health Organization (WHO) cites the workplace as one of the priority settings for health promotion in the twenty-first century. Employee health drives healthcare costs and productivity; an organization’s success depends on the health of its workforce. Fortunately, employers have the opportunity to utilize a number of strategies to enhance the health of their workforce and reap financial benefits through healthcare savings, employee engagement, productivity, and retention. Increasing numbers of organizations committed to achieving and maintaining a competitive edge are investing in promoting a culture of health.
The Vitality Institute’s aim is to identify, evaluate, and promote evidence-based workplace health promotion strategies that enhance the health of employees, their families, and communities. We also have a vision of workforce health metrics being reported alongside financial results, building on the Commission Recommendations.
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