Companies Looking To Cut Healthcare Costs Are Adding Fitness Programs To Keep Employees Active And Healthy.

Skyrocketing healthcare costs and climbing obesity rates have companies scrambling. Firms are taking notice of recent studies showing that those who exercise regularly and eat healthful diets have fewer medical claims. This article focuses on companies that are setting up or planning to set up fitness programs for their employees.

These programs range from fully subsidized on-site fitness centers to off-site gym memberships, walking and running clubs, and Internet fitness and wellness coaching when there is no room for a fitness center at work. Some companies acknowledge the low (less than 25 percent) employee participation rates by providing discounts on insurance premiums for those who participate.

This is more than a new trend – the article notes that a recent survey by the Washington D.C.-based nonprofit National Business Group on Health found that 77% of respondents have an onsite fitness center, 69% have onsite fitness programs and 38% have health-related Web-based tools available for employees.

Readers are also provided with an insightful look into the innovative programs at Electronic Arts, Mattel and Pfizer.

Source: Jeannine Stein, Los Angeles Times; July 12, 2004

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