A new study from theTrust for America's Health, a nonprofit health advocacy group, reports that community health programs that stress exercise, healthy eating and no cigarettesare a far better investmentthan those that focus on the treatment of diseases or medical conditions.
According to “Prevention for a Healthier America,” Wellness Corporate Solutions' home state of Maryland, for example, would save $6 for every dollar invested in prevention, or $332 million over five years.
Nationally, spending $10 per person per year in proven community-based programs to increase physical activity, improve nutrition, and prevent smoking could save more than $16 billion annually within five years—an ROI of $5.60 for every $1 spent.
While this research doesn’t address corporate wellness programs, per se, I think there’s a lot that we can take away from this report—first and foremost the notion than an ounce of disease prevention is clearly the best medicine.
Two relevant and generally inspirational quotes from aWashington Postarticle on the study:
"What's been interesting is that if you make it easier for people to make better choices, they actually do," said Jeffrey Levi, executive director of the Trust for America's Health.
"We've got to change the mindset from treating sick people to preventing illnesses in the first place," said Sen.Tom Harkin(D-Iowa), chairman of the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry.
Harkin later added: “People think preventive health care "pays off 20 or 30 years from now, but this shows you get the money back almost immediately, and then the savings grow bigger and bigger.”
Seems like a great reason to shift our collective corporate focus to prevention, as well.