Food & Families Worksite Wellness Program Business Plan: 2014-2015 Back »

Written collaboratively by Marjorie Zastrow, former SDSU Extension Nutrition Field Specialist, and Nikki Prosch.


Executive Summary: This program will focus on reducing the incidence of chronic disease including heart disease, obesity/overweight, diabetes and hypertension of South Dakotan’s. The CDC notes that more than 75% of health care costs are due to chronic conditions and it’s estimated that one-fourth of persons living with a chronic illness experience significant limitations in daily activities. According to Partnership for Prevention, the more chronic medical conditions an employee has, the higher probability of absenteeism or presenteeism. Research efforts have suggested worksite wellbeing programming can achieve multiple benefits, including decreased absenteeism at work, decreased health care cost, improved efficiency and increased job satisfaction. Thus, worksite wellbeing initiatives benefit both the employer and the employee. In 2011, the South Dakota Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) reported that the percentage of obese adults in South Dakota was 28.1%, and the combined overweight and obese percentage for South Dakota was 64.4 % - compared to the national 63.5%. In 2011 the CDC also reported that 84% of South Dakotans did not participate in enough aerobic and muscle strengthening exercise to meet CDC guidelines. With the continual rise in obesity, poor nutritional habits and low levels of physical activity in South Dakota, this program will help aid in the reversal of these trends by improving the knowledge and awareness of healthy behaviors of employers and subsequently individuals in the workplace.

Public and Private Value: Due to the high rate of chronic disease and its associated health costs, worksite wellbeing is needed to educate employers the Return on Investment (ROI) and Return on Value (ROV) of promoting a healthy living style among their employees. For those working full time, more than one-third of the day is spent at the worksite for five days per week. Employers have a vested interest in the health and wellbeing of their employee’s as it can lower their direct costs for items such as insurance premiums and indirect costs such as reduce absenteeism and increase worker productivity. Worksite Wellbeing will provide employers with justification and the tools to provide wellbeing programming and opportunities to their employee’s. Programming will focus on return on investment (ROI) and return on value (ROV), nutrition, physical activity, and living a healthier lifestyle. It will be offered primarily via on-line methods to capitalize on the worksite’s and their employee’s available time and resources to maximize resources utilized.

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