The results of a recently released Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida, Inc. (BCBSF) study found that having a work sponsored wellness program assists employees in reducing their health and injury risk. The significance of these findings is that ensuring employees have healthy lifestyles leads to a decrease in missed workdays and an increase in productivity. Such results are beneficial to both employers and the insurance companies that pay the employees’ medical bills. A similar study was conducted in 2005 by a multi-disciplinary research team at Stanford University. The team concluded that the most direct way to approach health care problemsâ€”which it identifies as one of the largest hurdles for the US government and its citizensâ€”is to diminish the need for health care by preventing many chronic illnesses through promotion of healthy lifestyles.
Some members of the Stanford research group materialized the findings as Wellsphere.com, an online network that provides a platform to discuss everything health, fitness and well-being related. The site hosts a community of regular people, personal trainers, nutritionists, professional sports players and stress therapists (to name a few). Members can ask and answer questions, post their fitness and nutrition goals, and share tips and advice on activities such as mountain biking or eating organic. The site also boasts a large directory of nearly all the wellness professionals (trainers, nutritionists, etc) in the San Francisco, New York City, and Los Angeles areas. Wellsphere founders Ron Gutman and Dave Kashen say the directory will soon expand to include all major areas of the US. In the meantime, members everywhere can enjoy and benefit from the sites other faculties.
On Wellsphere companies, as well as individuals, can create groups that allow them to keep track of their progress. Such utilization of the site is another way for employers to keep their employees and corporations healthy.