Study of 20,000 Workers Shows Different Factors Drive Abesenteeism and Job
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- January 7, 2013
Findings from a new peer-reviewed study of 20,000 American workers suggests
employers can maximize their employees’ job performance and reduce absenteeism
by using a multi-pronged, integrated approach to well-being improvement. The
study published today in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental
Medicine demonstrates that employers seeking to improve worker productivity
and reduce absenteeism should employ broad work-site based interventions
encompassing employee health management and engagement strategies.
A team of researchers from the Health Enhancement Research Organization
(HERO), Brigham Young University and the Center for Health Research at
Healthways finds better job performance and lower absenteeism for those
workers who ate healthy and exercised on a regular basis. Absenteeism for
those workers was 27% lower. Key job performance findings include:
*Workers who ate healthy the entire day were 25% more likely to have higher
*Workers who ate five or more servings of fruit and vegetables on four or
more days in the past week were 20% more likely to have higher job
*Workers who exercised for 30 or more minutes on three or more days a week
were 15% more likely to have higher job performance.
Results indicate that while physical health and health risk are an important
determinant of whether an individual shows up for work, the work environment
itself is an important determinant of on-the-job performance. Thus, employers
interested in truly bolstering the performance of their workforce should focus
on multiple aspects of workers’ well-being.
“This latest study investigating the link between employee health, performance
and productivity reinforces the business case for employers to provide
comprehensive, evidence-based health management programs for their workforce,”
said Jerry Noyce, president and CEO of HERO.
This study provides an extensive look at obesity’s impact on job performance:
*Job performance was 11% higher among those workers who were not obese.
*Workers with well-managed chronic diseases experience higher productivity
than individuals without chronic disease who are obese and do not
*Obese workers and those with a history of chronic disease and conditions
related to pain and activity limitations were also more likely to have
*Obese workers experienced lower job performance and higher absenteeism,
compared to workers with depression and other chronic diseases or
“More employers are defining individual well-being through the performance and
productivity of their workforce,” said Carter Coberley,vice president, Health
Research and Outcomes at Healthways. “Well-being is gaining recognition as an
important measure that relates both to the quality of life of individuals as
well as to financial measures that are important to business and government
leaders. Well-being can also serve as an important business success metric
through its demonstrated relationship to employee absence and job performance
as measured in multiple large employers.”
Analyses are based on data from three geographically-dispersed U.S. companies,
representing 20,114 employees who completed a work-related survey each year
from 2008 through 2010.
Healthways (NASDAQ: HWAY) is the largest independent global provider of
well-being improvement solutions. Dedicated to creating a healthier world one
person at a time, the Company uses the science of behavior change to produce
and measure positive change in well-being for our customers, which include
employers, integrated health systems, hospitals, physicians, health plans,
communities and government entities. We provide highly specific and
personalized support for each individual and their team of experts to optimize
each participant’s health and productivity and to reduce health-related costs.
Results are achieved by addressing longitudinal health risks and care needs of
everyone in a given population. The Company has scaled its proprietary
technology infrastructure and delivery capabilities developed over 30 years
and now serves approximately 40 million people on four continents. Learn more
About the Health Enhancement Research Organization
The Health Enhancement Research Organization (HERO) is a non-profit
corporation dedicated to the creation and dissemination of employee health
management research, education, policy, strategy and leadership. To learn
more, visit http://www.the-hero.org.
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