Targeting Health Risks Through Corporate Health Promotion Programs January 12th, 2011, by Ken Buckley

When we talk about corporate health promotion on this blog, it usually boils down to improving the health and productivity of a company’s employees, which is what corporate health promotion programs essentially do.

And how do they do it? They do it by targeting modifiable ‘health risk’ factors that left unattended normally increase the chance of injury and illness amongst staff. In other words, company health and wellness programs focus on encouraging staff to reduce their unhealthy behaviours that detrimentally affect their work productivity and overall wellbeing.

Of course many of these unhealthy behaviours are deeply ingrained habits, but that doesn’t mean that they are outside of the control of the individual, and with proper education and support from both peers and professionals, significant improvements can be made. Common health risks targeted by corporate health promotion programs include poor dietary habits, lack of physical exercise, undetected and therefore unmanaged health conditions such as hypertension or high cholesterol, abuse of illegal drugs or alcohol, smoking, inadequate sleep and excessive sun exposure.

The health behaviours corporate health promotion programs address should vary depending on the size of the company and the type of work employees are mostly engaged in.

For instance a company that employs drivers may want to target specific risks to driving safety such as drug abuse and lack of rest, and include positive initiatives such as defensive driving courses to build the drivers’ confidence.

Most companies though will benefit from many of the same core elements of health management. These interventions are health promotion tips that almost every employee population will benefit from:

• Physical activity programs.
• E-health summer and winter seminars and packs.
• Healthy eating and weight management.
• Ergonomics and back care assessments.
• Stress management techniques.
• Smoking cessation programs.
• Biometric testing for diagnosis and management of issues such as high cholesterol and high blood pressure.

Corporate wellness program interventions should be run progressively throughout the year and consistently re-evaluated to ensure they are appropriately meeting what’s most needed and wanted by staff. Health risk assessments such as online HRAs and biometric testings should be repeated annually to check progress and help employees realign their health goals.

Campaigns that centre around specific health risks may be run seasonally such as sun protection campaigns, sun sense seminars in the lead up to summer, or cold and flu prevention in winter. Spring can be a great time to begin an outdoor exercise campaign as the weather warms up.

Do remember that while most of the major health risks are modifiable, they do take time to truly change and when it comes to successful corporate health promotion programs, long-term maintenance is the key. With persistence, significant modifications can be made that will greatly improve both quality of life and quality of work for all.

For more information on Corporate Health Promotion Program, contact Healthworks on 1300 90 10 90 (International: IDD 61-2-9954-1888 ) and be sure to quote: “post668” for eligibility of Healthworks latest online offers and Corporate Health initiatives.

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