Development of an employer-sponsored health and wellness program
Manion, Brenna Christine
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Obesity is affecting Americans at a higher rate and cost than ever before. This disparity does not evade those who work in hospitals or health professions, as the nursing profession is routinely statistically ranked in the top ten most obese occupations in the United States. Obesity, and its co-morbidities, such as depression, Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, sleep apnea, and chronic joint pain, are associated with higher rates of injury, absenteeism, and poor job performance. The purpose of this project was to analyze the current overall health status of the employees at a community hospital in Western Montana and to use this statistical information to develop a health and wellness program tailored to the identified deficiencies and problem areas. A total of 403 employees, 32% of the total population, participated in voluntary free health screenings. Results of the screenings indicated that 32.3% (n=130) of staff were overweight (BMI 25-29.9), and 25.6% (n=103) were obese (BMI >30). Additionally, 77.4% (n=312) of the screened population reported exercising less than five days per week, while 13.4% (n=54) reported not exercising at all. In regards to daily caloric intake, 63.3% (n=255) of employees are at increased risk for health issues related to poor food choices, while 28% (n=113) are at very high risk. Furthermore, when analyzing mental health, 31.3% (n=126) of employees indicated high levels of stress at work, 20.1% (n=81) indicated they are experiencing two or more major life events that were causing stress, and 16.4% (n=66) reported having a depressed mood, or feeling down, unhappy, and hopeless. These findings demonstrated that this setting is in need of overall health improvement. Through this project, a multifaceted health and wellness program was established to target the identified risk areas, as well as promote overall wellbeing at no cost to the employee. The conclusion of this project is that through the identification of problem areas and creation of the associated interventions, a health conscious work environment that promotes average BMI, healthy eating, balanced mental health, and physical activity provides multiple incentives and benefits to both the individual and the employer (CDC, 2014).