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December 19, 2012
10 risks linked to most employee health spending

Researchers at Emory University and Truven Health Analytics found that 10 modifiable health risk factors were linked to more than a fifth of employer and employee health spending. The results were published in the journal Health Affairs.

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The Healthyroads Hero II study matched health spending of nearly 93,000 employees at seven U.S. companies over 3 years with a list of 10 common risk factors. Those included high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high blood glucose, depression, obesity, stress, tobacco use, poor diet, physical inactivity, and excessive alcohol use.

They discovered that more than 22 percent of the $366 million spent annually by the seven employers and their employees was linked to those risk factors. All 10, they say, can be influenced by evidence-based worksite health promotion programs.

The factors that contributed the most per capita to excess costs were obesity, physical inactivity, depression, tobacco use, and high blood glucose. The researchers concluded that targeted employer-sponsored programs “could produce substantial savings to U.S. companies.”

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