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Workplace Health

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.

The Evidence

New Opportunities in the Changing Landscape of Prevention

By Derek Yach and Chris Calitz The focus of medical research has historically been on curative medicine, yielding better drugs, medical devices, and clinical procedures. Prevention science—the systematic application of scientific methods to the causes... More »

JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association) | July 17, 2014

Improving Support for Health Promotion and Chronic Disease Prevention: Summary of Key Messages from Reports of the Institute of Medicine

Leigh Carroll and Bridget B. Kelly, Editors   This paper was commissioned by the Vitality Institute, an organization with a mission to advance knowledge about the evolving science and art of chronic disease prevention and... More »

Institute of Medicine (IOM) | June 18, 2014

Goals of the Vitality Institute

Executive Director Derek Yach describes the goals of the Vitality Institute.

YouTube | May 20, 2013

Fitness Devices Impacting Employee Health According to Vitality Study

People of all ages, weight and gender are embracing wearable fitness devices offering real-time data to track their physical activity according to a three-year analysis from The Vitality Group, part of the world’s first and... More »

The Vitality Group | April 23, 2014

New Rules and Research Mark a Coming of Age for Workplace Health

Health promotion and disease prevention can lead to reduction in health care costs. We are now in need of effective wellness programs at workplace. Government should also play a role in shaping the healthy behaviors... More »

Huffington Post, Healthy Living | July 6, 2013

Poor Diet, Tobacco Use and Lack of Physical Activity Taking Toll on Nation’s Health

While we're living longer, poor diet, tobacco use and inadequate physical activity are negatively impacting our health. These are some of the findings of research released this week by the U.S. Burden of Disease Collaborators,... More »

Huffington Post, Healthy Living | July 15, 2013

The Relationship Between Leadership Support, Workplace Health Promotion and Employee Wellbeing in South Africa

Leadership support has been identified as an essential component of successful workplace health promotion (WHP) programs. However, there is little research in this area and even less theoretical conceptualization on ways in which leadership support... More »

Health Promotion International | October 18, 2013

The Running Man of Insurance

Interview of Adrian Gore, founder and CEO of Discovery Ltd.

Financial Times | April 8, 2012

Getting on the Treadmill

THE thorniest problem facing the health-care profession is how to strike the right balance between promoting health and curing illness. As is routinely pointed out, prevention is better than cure—and cheaper too. But the forces... More »

The Economist | October 8, 2011

Prevention: Carrots and sticks approach wins mixed reviews

Results on carrot or stick approaches to workplace health promotion and chronic disease prevention have been mixed; finding the right balance is crucial. On a macro level however, returns on prevention can be great. Some... More »

Financial Times | November 14, 2013