Wellness Programs Don’t Work

On its surface, who can argue with the concept of workplace wellness? How could there be anything wrong with corporations helping their employees reduce their risk of disease while saving money in the process?

What turns out to be wrong with the implied answer to this rhetorical question, as this essay will show, is that it is completely incorrect.

Wellness programs have conferred no measurable benefit on the American workforce. Further, vendors routinely disregard clinical guidelines that are designed to avoid overtreatment, inappropriate doctor visits, and increasingly ubiquitous crash-dieting contests. The economics follow the harms.

The economics follow the harms. Essentially every dollar companies spend on vendor-administered workplace-wellness programs is lost.  As a result, much of the wellness-vendor community has resorted to making demonstrably false claims about savings in order to maintain its revenue stream.

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