Businesses today are actively looking to relocate to or open branches in states where there’s a culture of health. Why? Quite simply, because hiring healthy employees costs less to do business. That’s one reason why the state of Colorado, which has the lowest rates of adult obesity in the country, has raced to the top as a favorite destination for companies hoping to open offices.
Kelly Brough, who runs the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce, is all about luring big businesses to relocate to Colorado—and she does it creatively, to boot. Take her ‘Colorado loves California’ campaign, for instance. “We do it on Valentine’s Day,” she says. “The CEOs actually do get valentines from us. And it’s been a real creative, cool way to say to companies, ‘We know you’re out there, and we think you may be interested.’ ”
To get the attention of top-level executives, Brough has the numbers to hook them—and she’s not just referring to typical tax breaks and labor costs but obesity rates as well. When she meets with businesses, she touts Colorado’s low rates of common chronic diseases—diabetes, heart disease and cancer—among the ones that cost companies a lot of money in health insurance claims.
One such business that happily took the bait is DaVita, a Fortune 500 company that provides dialysis services. Impressed by Denver’s healthy workforce, the medical firm moved its corporate headquarters to Denver from Los Angeles. Colorado also offered the company tax breaks.
“A healthier team actually does better work, and leads a happier life. So that both the company and the individuals are better off if it’s a healthier environment,” says DaVita CEO Kent Thiry.
Colorado has long valued health, fitness and quality of life. Thiry says it’s helped him recruit the executives his company needs at its headquarters in Denver, and the young, college-educated professionals he wants to hire.