Volunteering Linked to Better Physical, Mental Health

  Volunteering Linked to Better Physical, Mental Health

  *Three quarters of volunteers say volunteering has made them feel
    physically healthier and lowered their stress levels
  *New study finds that volunteering benefits individuals, communities and
    employers

2013 National Conference on Volunteering and Service

Business Wire

MINNEAPOLIS -- June 19, 2013

A new study released today by UnitedHealth Group (NYSE:UNH) and the Optum
Institute finds that volunteering is linked to better physical, mental and
emotional health.

Doing Good is Good for You: 2013 Health and Volunteering Study reveals that 76
percent of U.S. adults who volunteer report that volunteering has made them
feel physically healthier, and 78 percent report that volunteering lowers
their levels of stress, leading to feeling better than adults who do not
volunteer. The study also illustrates that employers benefit from employees
who volunteer in terms of better employee health and in professional-skills
development that employees use in the workplace.

The study reveals four key benefits of volunteering that make a positive
impact on people’s health:

  *Health: volunteers say that they feel better – physically, mentally and
    emotionally;
  *Stress: volunteering helps people manage and lower their stress levels;
  *Purpose: volunteers feel a deeper connection to communities and to others;
  *Engagement: volunteers are more informed health care consumers, and more
    engaged and involved in managing their health.

The study also shows that volunteering is good for employers:

  *the health benefits volunteers enjoy also benefit the workplace –
    employers can expect lower health care costs and higher productivity from
    employees who volunteer;
  *volunteers in the study report lower stress levels; other, established
    research shows that reducing employee stress contributes to higher
    productivity and levels of engagement;
  *volunteering can develop employees’ work skills, which benefits employer
    and employee;
  *volunteers report that volunteering helps them build teamwork and
    time-management skills; fosters stronger relationships with colleagues;
    and supports professional networking;
  *volunteer activities lead to stronger positive feelings toward an employer
    when volunteer programs are supported in the workplace.

To read the full Doing Good is Good for You: 2013 Health and Volunteering
Study, visit http://www.unitedhealthgroup.com/SR.

“These findings show that the benefits of volunteering help strengthen
communities and have real, measurable health benefits for the people who
volunteer,” said Kate Rubin, UnitedHealth Group vice president of Social
Responsibility. “Employers enjoy the benefits of physically and mentally
healthier employees; those that support volunteering programs in the workplace
see added benefits that drive directly to their bottom line.”

Rubin will present the study results at the 2013 National Conference on
Volunteering and Service, convened by the volunteer service organization
Points of Light, June 19-22, in Washington, D.C.

The Health and Volunteering Study explored the relationship between
volunteerism and health, and looked at the role employers play in encouraging
volunteerism. The study, which surveyed more than 3,300 U.S. adults, is part
of UnitedHealth Group’s continued effort to support volunteerism, understand
its impact on health, and strengthen employees’ connections to the communities
where they live and work. It expands on the findings established in a 2010
survey by UnitedHealthcare and VolunteerMatch around the same topic.

“The business community, the health sector, individuals and families all have
a stake in building a healthier future for our nation, and that begins with
improving our communities’ health in ways that are sustainable and
affordable,” said Dr. Carol Simon, director of the Optum Institute, which
provides analytical insights on the nation’s rapidly changing health care
landscape. “Volunteering builds health outside traditional clinical settings
by engaging people in activities that strengthen communities and personal
health at the same time – a win-win for everyone.”

Doing Good is Good for You: 2013 Health and Volunteering Study used an
index-validated scale to understand the experienced physical and mental health
benefits of volunteering. The study was conducted by Harris Interactive from
Feb. 9 through March 18, 2013. This report was based on a quantitative
mixed-mode survey (i.e. online and telephone) of 3,351 adults 18 or older and
included indexed-validated measures for physical and mental health.
Respondents were general-population members of an online consumer research
panel or recruited through random-digit-dial methods and interviewed by mobile
or landline telephones. The results were weighted to be representative of the
total U.S. adult population.

About UnitedHealth Group

UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH) is a diversified health and well-being company
dedicated to helping people live healthier lives and making health care work
better. With headquarters in Minnetonka, Minn., UnitedHealth Group offers a
broad spectrum of products and services through two business platforms:
UnitedHealthcare, which provides health care coverage and benefits services;
and Optum, which provides information and technology-enabled health services.
Through its businesses, UnitedHealth Group serves more than 80 million people
worldwide. For more information, visit UnitedHealth
Groupatwww.unitedhealthgroup.com.

About the Optum Institute

Optum has established the Optum Institute to serve as an authoritative source
of analytical insights on the rapidly changing U.S. health care landscape,
while acting as a constructive enabler of sustainable health. The Optum
Institute works in partnership with consumers, health professionals,
hospitals, employers, governments, health plans, and the life sciences
industry, to help transform health care delivery. More information is
available at institute.optum.com.

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Contact:

UnitedHealth Group
Lauren Mihajlov, 952-936-3068
lauren_mihajlov@uhg.com
 
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