Silently Killing $10.3 Billion a Year

September 20, 2017

Takeaways

Cardiovascular disease may be costing businesses $10.3 billion a year in the U.S. workplace.
The American Heart Association explains the importance of employee health and wellness as a business strategy.

Although businesses must keep a careful eye on where all their dollars are going, what if there was a leak they couldn’t see — one that’s draining $10.3 billion a year in the U.S. workplace?

The culprit — the biggest leak — may be cardiovascular disease costs. With rising premiums, disability costs, lower productivity and absenteeism, heart disease and stroke are a blight on businesses. Many shrug their shoulders over the growing financial burden, but the American Heart Association is urging businesses to fix the leak, saving costs. And lives. We can help.

High blood pressure, the “silent killer,” affects 80 million Americans a year, including one in three adults. It’s called the silent killer because as it wreaks havoc on your heart and arteries, you don’t feel a thing. Although too many people ignore rising blood pressure numbers, treating and controlling it is simple and cost effective. It reduces the risk of stroke, heart attack and other complicated, costly conditions.

The good news is that focusing on health in the workplace can tremendously reduce the burden. Evidence shows that self-monitoring blood pressure can help people reduce their blood pressure through lifestyle changes and medication adherence.

Employee health and wellness should be a business strategy that’s engrained in the company mission, core values and culture. A healthy workforce is more engaged and productive, and provides better customer service — and it’s simply good for all.

Want to tackle the leak? First, take an honest assessment of your company’s culture of health. You’ll understand where you are so you can make changes for the better. Here’s how to get started:

  1. Lead well by making well-being a business goal. Then allocate the time, space and resources needed to make it happen. 
  2. Aim for engagement more than participation by involving employees in the planning process. Recruit a health promotion committee across various roles and departments to create a meaningful program.
  3. Start with an evaluation plan. Identify the outcomes you want to achieve and how you’ll get there.
  4. Strive for American Heart Association Gold level recognition and share your learnings with others. Check out the list of companies that are crushing it!