In today’s times, it’s astonishing to learn that a whopping 5 million Canadians do not have a family physician. It’s even more alarming when you learn that nine out of ten Canadians have at least one risk factor for heart disease or stroke. (smoking, high alcohol consumption, physical inactivity, obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and or diabetes)
More Alarming Statistics:
- Only 16% have it treated and under control
- An estimated 2.4 million Canadians have diabetes
- Almost 40% of Canadian adults are classified as having high blood cholesterol levels
- 19% of Canadians (4.6 million) age 20-79 are hypotensive
- Another 20% (4.8 million) are pre-hypertensive
Will things get better?
With the population of baby boomers aging and people experiencing hard economic times, more workers are delaying retirement and working well into their 60s—this means that better benefits are required to retain talent. Meanwhile, governments are actively looking to pass on healthcare costs to private sectors. That means fewer services and higher employer costs. However, the bottom line is that over 70% of all healthcare costs in Canada are related to chronic diseases, many of which can be prevented or better managed through more appropriate lifestyle choices.
How health and wellness initiatives add value to companies
By implementing these types of programs, the benefits to companies are indisputable. The programs help contain cost since an aging population means higher employer spending; they help the company compete for talent, especially considering that 61% of 30-year-old Canadians believe their employer has an obligation to assist them in maintain a healthy lifestyle; and they help to target health spending by measuring its returns on investment.
Why should companies care?
Our research shows that companies are more interested in the benefits of creating a culture of corporate wellness rather than the hard dollar costs. The following benefits may not be as measurable as reducing drug and disability costs, but employers rate them higher than cost:
- Issues around productivity
- Employee satisfaction
- Loyalty, employee engagement, recruitment
- Corporate reputation
- Attracting talent
Initiatives don’t have to be costly. It could be something as simple as bringing in Weight Watchers, creating a joint program with a local gym, or offering healthy options in the company cafeteria.