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Health promotion and disease prevention in the workplace and in the community.
Effective management of health and safety programs: a practical guide, 3rd edition. Moser R Jr., ed. Berverly Farms, MA: OEM Press, 2008 Mar; :245-265
Beginning in the late 1960s and the early to mid-1970s, increasing interest in health promotion and disease prevention (HPDP) occurred. In part, this was because the social and political climate in the United States encouraged healthy lifestyles, with the result that jogging, playing tennis, concern about cholesterol, and similar aspects of HPDP programs became popular. Corporations supported and encouraged such activities by providing exercise and other lifestyle-enhancing equipment. A second aspect that favored HPDP efforts was the increasing costs of employee health care for employers. During the 1970s through the 1990s, the costs of employee health care benefits increased dramatically, with increases repeatedly exceeding the annual growth in the U.S. economy [1,2]. By 1990, corporate health benefits had increased to the point that they represented 45 percent of corporate afrer-tax profits [2,3]. During this period, the number of worksite health promotion and disease prevention (HPDP) programs also increased markedly [4-7]. Part of this increase reflected efforts by corporations to control the spiraling health care costs. Other factors that contributed to the increase included the Surgeon General's 1979 Healthy People Report, which emphasized the need for lifestyle changes to improve health . The National Safety Council reported that work injuries alone cost Americans $132.1 billion, the equivalent of $970 per worker . As noted in Chapter 15, earlier studies had indicated that the economic burden for occupational and nonoccupational illnesses and injuries in 119 million U.S. workers was $1.25 trillion, considering both direct and indirect costs . Costs for workplace illnesses and injuries was estimated at $171 billion . All of these factors combined to underscore the potential for worksite HPDP programs to improve the health and safety of workers and simultaneously reduce health care costs. The advantages of worksite efforts include the potential to focus on a single population group so that program outcomes could be evaluated and the support of management for the efforts. Similar situations may exist in other population groups and communities in which the effects of the interventions can be measured. Recent studies have considered methods to develop population-based public health promotion efforts  and implementation of evidence-based clinical and community strategies to improve health . The challenges of implementing HPDP programs within communities may be complex, but the involvement of community leaders in the effort may be very advantageous. For example, challenging a city or community to lose several "tons" of weight collectively may pay important dividends in increasing awareness of healthy lifestyles and the benefits of such population-wide programs. In essence, the "lessons learned" from worksite HPDP programs can be translated to other populations, including communities . SUMMARY: The health and safety manager who designs and implements effective HPDP programs can play a vital role in reducing the corporation's or community's risk due to health costs and providing important benefits to involved individuals and their families.
Management-personnel; Occupational-health-programs; Occupational-safety-programs; Decision-making; Training; Education; Occupational-health; Environmental-health; Worker-health; Public-health; Health-care; Health-services; Disease-prevention; Injury-prevention; Preventive-medicine; Disease-prevention; Health-programs; Physical-exercise; Physical-fitness; Health-care; Medical-care; Injuries; Public-health; Group-behavior; Group-dynamics
Effective management of health and safety programs: a practical guide, 3rd edition
University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division