February 24, 2010
Kaiser Permanente Experts Advise on Improving Employee Health in Book About Workplace Wellness
Three Kaiser Permanente physicians and a weight management expert have contributed their expertise to Healthy Employees, Healthy Business, a book offering advice for business owners on how to implement a low-cost wellness program that increases employee productivity and helps control health care costs.
Written by Ilona Bray and recently published by Nolo, the book comes at a time when there is increased interest among employers in implementing an effective workplace wellness program that will boost employee productivity, morale and overall health. The experts from Kaiser Permanente are among a team of advisors from across the nation chosen to participate in writing the book.
Contributors from Kaiser Permanente include: Robert Sallis, MD, who gives advice on the benefits of promoting fitness in the workplace; Albert Ray, MD, who advises on ways to manage and reduce stress; Preston Maring, MD, founder of Kaiser Permanente’s farmers market program, who discusses the connection between nutrition and good health and Trina Histon, PhD, senior manager of weight management at the Care Management Institute, who highlights ways to combat obesity with a workplace wellness program.
Each of them contributed to the book by providing research, information and insight into health risks associated with inactivity, stress and poor nutrition, as well as tips on how to improve the health of employees through fitness, stress reduction and healthy eating.
Their contributions underscore Kaiser Permanente’s commitment to work with employers to improve the health of their employees. Creating a healthy workforce can lead to decreasing absenteeism and presenteeism, the result of employees being at work but underperforming because they are struggling with an illness, the book states.
“One of the greatest assets of any business is a healthy and productive workforce," said Tom Carter, vice president, Sales and Broker Relations, California, Kaiser Permanente. “Healthy Employees, Healthy Business, offers anyone involved in running a business the important insights and tools needed to increase employee health, wellness and productivity. And, they will learn how wellness programs can lower total costs associated with absenteeism and presenteeism due to chronic disease.”
The book outlines ways an employer can evaluate a workplace’s main health concerns, and then develop fun and effective activities to improve employee health. Among the many suggestions to employers in the book are creating a wellness culture in the workplace by communicating messages about healthy living and eating, encouraging stretch breaks and walking groups, and offering fresh food choices — rather than high-fat snacks — at meetings and in vending machines.
More information on Healthy Employees, Healthy Business can be found at http://www.nolo.com/products/healthy-employees-healthy-business-HLTH.html.