DEARBORN - Ford Motor Company has made it a priority to communicate the importance of health and wellness among its employees in the workplace as well as at home. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is essential, especially when national health care costs continue to rise and the country’s health status continues to decline.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services:
• 59 percent of employees do not get adequate exercise
• 50 percent or more have high cholesterol
• 27 percent have cardiovascular disease
• 26 percent are overweight by 20 percent or more
• 24 percent have high blood pressure
Employee health affects not only medical costs, but everyday life, including lack of productivity at work. Between 70 to 90 percent of health care spend is caused by preventable, modifiable health risks such as the ones listed above. Unhealthy lifestyle choices often lead to chronic diseases, costing businesses more than $1 trillion in lost productivity alone.
Currently, national health care cost increases are driven not only by chronic conditions, but also advanced treatment options, improper utilization, waste in the health care delivery system and legislative requirements.
Consistent with the national experience, Ford’s per employee healthcare costs also have increased at a significant rate, which is unsustainable long term. This trend becomes an affordability challenge for both employers and employees across the nation.
To drive the message home, Ford assists employees by offering health and wellness programs, which encourage awareness of health related issues, developing a workplace culture where employees are engaged, accountable and supported for their health and well-being. Not to mention, improving the health of Ford team members will help control the rising cost of health care throughout the company.
The Ford employee population is not unlike other working populations in the U.S., where a small portion of individuals covered by health plans represent a very large percentage of the overall cost, in large part due to chronic and manageable conditions. This is why awareness and prevention are such an important part of the Ford wellness strategy.
Completing a health assessment to become more aware of one’s own health risks, and visiting a physician each year to complete preventive screenings to help identify those risks early allow individuals to develop a plan addressing concerns before they become more serious health conditions.
Ford’s efforts around employee health and wellness are mirrored by large employers across the U.S. Employers have a tremendous opportunity to help their employees see the value of adopting healthier behaviors so they can live healthier lives. Behaviors such as eating right, not smoking and an active lifestyle have the largest impact on overall health.
A supportive work environment, where managers reinforce a sound wellness strategy, can set the tone and keep employees motivated and engaged, both at work and in their personal lives. Wellness and incentive programs can be used to create awareness and reinforce healthy behaviors, bringing benefits to the employer, the employee and to the community.
Studies show that employees are more likely to be on the job and performing well when they are in optimal health. Benefits of implementing a wellness program include:
• Attracting the most talented workers
• Reducing absenteeism and lost time
• Improving on-the-job time utilization, decision making and productivity
• Improving employee morale
• Reduction in turnover
• Improved disease management and prevention, and a healthier workforce in general
In order to help improve the health and productivity of members of the Ford team, manage costs and provide appropriate, efficient health care services, the company continues to actively promote wellness and healthy behaviors, engaging members with a focus on awareness, prevention and chronic-condition management.