trends workplace wellness

Workplace Wellness Trends Help Drive Wellness Conversation

Workplace wellness trends often can be a two-way street: The more the topic gets discussed, the more individuals learn and engage; similarly, the more employees engage, one would think, the more the topic gets discussed.

Indeed, we recently noted a study titled “Let’s work out: communication in workplace wellness programs” and published in the International Journal of Workplace Health Management.

The study states that “people spend a lot of time communicating with their co-workers each day; however, research has yet to explore how colleagues influence each other’s health behaviors. The purpose of this paper is to examine the association between health-related communication and health behaviors among co-workers in a workplace wellness program.”

The implications? “Co-worker communication and socialization appear to be important factors in understanding individuals’ health behaviors; thus, organizations that offer workplace wellness programs should provide opportunities for socialization and co-worker communication to facilitate employees’ healthy behaviors.”

Top Trends

So what topics are popular?

Gallup recently published its “Top Well-Being Findings of 2017,” defined as “Gallup editors’ picks for the most important health and well-being findings reported this year.” Many of the their top picks covered issues relevant for workplace wellness, including obesity, diabetes, diet, mental wellness, and exercise:

  • “Obesity quadruples the risk of diabetes for most U.S. adults: Obese adults between the ages of 25 and 64 are at least four times more likely to have been diagnosed with diabetes than are those who have a normal weight. Among obese adults, increased risk of diabetes is highest from ages 35 to 39. Gallup and Sharecare also found that diabetes costs the U.S. economy an estimated $266 billion per year in healthcare utilization and unplanned absenteeism, and transportation workers have the highest diabetes rates.”
  • “Healthy eating linked to lower likelihood of depression: U.S. adults who report eating healthy all day ‘yesterday’ are 34.1% less likely to currently have depression than those who say they did not eat healthy. Healthy eating is also tied to a lower probability of obesity, diabetes, heart attack, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Despite the benefits of healthy eating, the percentage of U.S. adults who reported eating healthy ‘yesterday’ fell to a nine-year low in 2016.”
  • “Older Americans get greatest emotional benefit from exercise: Although regular exercise has emotional health benefits for all age groups, those aged 45 and older benefit most. Seniors aged 65 and older who exercise increase their odds of having a positive life outlook by 32%.”