The Workplace Wellness Alliance, part of the World Economic Forum, has released a report at the Annual Meeting in Davos on the latest thinking on workplace wellness and metrics. The report is based on research and data from over two million employees from 25 companies across 125 countries. As one of the Leadership Members of the Alliance, PruHealth's parent company, Discovery is recognised in the report for its programme to incentivise healthy behaviours and outcomes and its global outreach through PruHealth in the UK and other international partners in China and the US.
Discovery CEO Adrian Gore facilitated a session on wellness in the workplace that included CEOs of major companies, health ministries, and representatives of the World Health Organization (WHO) and NGOs. The session aimed to connect workplace wellness to the broader discussion of human capital and competitiveness.
The theme of this year's meeting is "resilient dynamism" - a concept that talks to how organisations can help rebuild global confidence and restore growth by showing strategic agility and risk resilience - and healthcare and wellness feature highly on the Davos agenda. Against the background of continuing economic uncertainty, the link between health and productivity is critical for global efforts to restore growth and build confidence.
Workplace wellness programmes are increasingly recognised as a means of reducing the impact of chronic diseases of lifestyle on individuals and organisations. Recently published research by Vitality's team showed that if physical inactivity, low fruit and vegetable intake, smoking, obesity, hypertension, hypercholesterolemia and alcohol abuse, were lowered to their theoretical minimum, the average annual costs per working adult would be reduced by 18.4%.
The benefit of workplace wellness programs has been shown to extend beyond risk factor reduction. Well designed programs also positively impact productivity, competitiveness and economic growth. This is relevant when one takes into account the staggering cost of healthcare for economies. In 2010, Americans spent $2.5 trillion on healthcare, equating to 19% of gross domestic product (GDP). In South Africa and the UK, 8% to 9% of GDP is spent on healthcare. An ageing population with higher health risks and associated higher healthcare costs is already placing pressure on economies around the world, including the US, where the debate currently centres on the budget deficit. PruHealth and Discovery believe that a stronger focus on prevention and health is one way of stemming the tide of chronic diseases and high corporate healthcare costs.
Neville Koopowitz, CEO at PruHealth said: "Workplace wellness programmes offer a long-term solution for organisations. Some organisations and programmes have made significant and measurable progress in improving the health of their workforce and their financial bottom line. What is critical now is collaboration and the sharing of knowledge. This requires a concerted effort and coordination by employers, governments and healthcare professionals to raise awareness and implement programmes to stem the rising tide of chronic diseases of lifestyle in the workplace."
Notes to Editors:
The report can be found at http://www.weforum.org/reports/workplace-wellness-alliance-m...
About PruHealth and Discovery:
PruHealth is a leading private medical insurance and Vitality wellness programme provider which launched in the UK in 2004 in response to a growing need for consumer-directed private medical insurance products. It is a joint venture between UK insurer, Prudential and Discovery, a listed company operating in the health, wellness, life, investment and financial services markets in South Africa, UK, USA and China.
The Vitality programme is the world's largest scientific, incentive-based wellness solution that helps people understand how they can improve their own personal health, makes it cheaper and easier for them to get healthy and gives rewards to keep them motivated, through a range of tools and discounts.
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