Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Extra Care For Outwardly Healthy Workers Costs Companies Millions Annually

Date:
October 22, 2009
Source:
University of Michigan
Summary:
Someone healthy enough to work could still cost an employer more than $4,000 annually in unnecessary health care costs.

Someone healthy enough to work could still cost an employer more than $4,000 annually in unnecessary health care costs.

A new University of Michigan study shows workers with metabolic syndrome (MetS) and associated chronic disease can cost employers up to $5,867 annually in health care, pharmacy and short term disability -- compared to $1,600 for a healthy worker. But the good news: Companies can stop those chronic health problems before they start.

MetS is a collection of health risks that includes body mass index, cholesterol, glucose, blood pressure and triglycerides. The study was designed to determine the relationship between MetS and disease among employed adults. Researchers at the Health Management Research Center in the U-M School of Kinesiology gave health risk assessments to 3,285 employees in a Midwestern manufacturing company in 2004, and again in 2006. They hoped to determine whether employees with MetS would develop one of five chronic conditions (heart disease, diabetes, chronic pain, heartburn, or arthritis) associated with MetS.

People in the general population with MetS are known to be more likely to develop health problems such as heart disease and diabetes without health intervention, says research associate and study author Alyssa Schultz, but this is the first time the link has been studied and shown in working populations.

This surprising finding challenges the so-called "healthy worker" effect. Researchers found that the workers in the study were just as likely to develop heart disease and diabetes as the general population. This finding defies the prevailing wisdom that working people are healthier and more insulated from disease than the unemployed, says Schultz.

"We didn't know if employees with MetS would also have disease but they do," Schultz said. "This shows disease is an issue for corporations and other organizations, and they need to take action to help employees stay healthy.

"People with MetS cost employers money, but people with MetS and disease cost a lot more," Schultz said.

Employees with MetS were significantly more likely to report arthritis, chronic pain, diabetes, heartburn and heart disease, Schultz says. Also, if someone had MetS in 2004, they were much more likely to develop one of the associated chronic conditions by the second test in 2006.

"The important thing for employers is to catch employees who have the risk factors before it escalates to a disease state," she said. "Keeping people healthy is much wiser then treating the illness or disease after it occurs."

The first step for employers says Schultz, is a health risk appraisal to determine the health of employees. When at-risk employees are identified, a prevention and intervention programs can cost as little as $150 a year per employee, according to a source in the paper.

"If individuals take advantage of programs helping them to both maintain their low risks and reduce their high risks, their odds of experiencing disease will be reduced," she said. "This leads to improved vitality and quality of life for individuals, and cost avoidance for corporations in the form of lower health care, pharmacy and short term disability costs.

Dee Edington, professor of movement science and director of the Health Management Research Center, is the co-author on the study, which will appear this month in the journal Value in Health.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Michigan. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Michigan. "Extra Care For Outwardly Healthy Workers Costs Companies Millions Annually." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 October 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091022114355.htm>.
University of Michigan. (2009, October 22). Extra Care For Outwardly Healthy Workers Costs Companies Millions Annually. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091022114355.htm
University of Michigan. "Extra Care For Outwardly Healthy Workers Costs Companies Millions Annually." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091022114355.htm (accessed April 24, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deadly Fungus Killing Bats, Spreading in US

Deadly Fungus Killing Bats, Spreading in US

AP (Apr. 24, 2014) A disease that has killed more than six million cave-dwelling bats in the United States is on the move and wildlife biologists are worried. White Nose Syndrome, discovered in New York in 2006, has now spread to 25 states. (April 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Companies Ramp Up Wellness to Lower Health Costs

Companies Ramp Up Wellness to Lower Health Costs

AP (Apr. 24, 2014) That little voice telling you to exercise, get in shape and get healthy is probably coming from your boss. More companies are beefing up wellness programs to try and cut down their health care costs. (April 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Blood From World's Oldest Woman Suggests Life Limit

Blood From World's Oldest Woman Suggests Life Limit

Newsy (Apr. 24, 2014) Scientists say for the extremely elderly, their stem cells might reach a state of exhaustion. This could limit one's life span. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
FDA Wants To Ban Sales Of E-Cigarettes To Minors

FDA Wants To Ban Sales Of E-Cigarettes To Minors

Newsy (Apr. 24, 2014) The Food and Drug Administration wants to crack down on the use of e-cigarettes, banning the sale of the product to minors. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins