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May 17, 2013
Coatings company has healthy culture covered

A comprehensive program that fosters a “culture of health” has led to a reduction in employee health costs at PPG Industries. A study in the May issue of the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine found significant benefits of the program, which inspires employees to become actively involved in improving their own health.

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The study reviewed 6 years of health costs at PPG, a global coatings and specialty products company. One focus of the program is modifying risk factors for cardiovascular diseases. The journal reports that costs related to coronary artery disease and high blood pressure decreased by more than 10 percent over the 6-year period.

PPG also experienced a 3 percent reduction in overall medical costs. That drop is significant because it occurred at a time when healthcare costs were rising nationwide.

Savings were greater at PPG sites with more leadership support and where the healthy culture approach was more widely implemented.

The wellness program emphasizes that employees cannot alter their genes or control all environmental factors. But they can make choices that positively impact their health. PPG encourages program participants to:

  • Control blood pressure;
  • Stop smoking;
  • Participate in cancer screenings;
  • Get regular immunizations;
  • Regulate blood glucose;
  • Lower LDL (“bad”) cholesterol;
  • Be active;
  • Prevent bone loss and muscle weakness;
  • Maintain social contact; and
  • Combat depression.
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