The goal of workplace wellness programs is twofold: improve employee health and lower health care costs for employers and insurers.
A workplace wellness program was implemented at a random subset of worksites within BJ’s Wholesale Club from 2015 to 2017. Zirui Song and Katherine Baicker looked into its effects.
While the program led to better self-reported health behaviors, notably active weight management, the authors found that it did not produce significant differences in clinical measures of health, health care spending and use, or employment outcomes between treatment and control.
“To the extent that these results are representative of other wellness programs, they temper expectations of substantial improvements in health outcomes or financial returns on investment from wellness programs,” wrote Song and Baicker.