Study: Wellness Programs Don’t Work

A new report by the Center for Studying Health System Change finds that:

  • Investments in wellness take several years to pay off (if they every do)
  • Web-based programs emphasizing a health risk assessment but lacking personal follow up or personal health coaching performed the worse and generally achieve no results.
  • The results are too poor and too uncertain to justify taxpayer subsidies.

Wall Street Journal summary of the report here.

Comments (5)

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  1. Devon Herrick says:

    I believe the moral of this story is that workers who already want to lead a healthier life can be nudged towards that goal by clearing away the obstacles. However, people who simply do not want to get off the couch or push themselves away from the buffet line are not likely to do so for the chance to win an iPod or a few extra dollars in an FSA. Poorly conceived wellness programs are unlikely to produce results, whereas a top down commitment to wellness that engages the entire workforce has potential, but will require a significant investment — and patience.

  2. Joe S. says:

    So what else is new?

  3. Ken says:

    The issue is not, do wellness programs work? (They don’t.) The issue is, why do people keep talking about them, as though they did work?

  4. Tom H. says:

    I agree with Ken. Remember the definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different outcome.

  5. artk says:

    The issue isn’t if wellness programs work or not, when followed they work. The issue is getting compliance. Maybe we should hire the designers of slot machines for that task.