Employers outside the United States seem to be far more interested in keeping employees healthy for the sake of keeping them healthy and working than U.S. employers are.
Researchers at Buck Consultants, New York, a unit of Affiliated Computer Services Inc., Dallas, have published data supporting that conclusion in a report based on an international survey of 1,100 large employers. The participating employers employ about 10 million people in 45 countries.
In the United States, reducing health care cost increases is the top goal, by a wide margin, Buck reports.
Employers in most countries also cite reducing stress as another wellness program goal, but employers in the United States and Latin America were more likely to cite lack of exercise and poor nutrition as a top concern.
About 77% of the participating employers in North America already offer wellness programs, but the popularity of the programs is increasing in other countries, too, Buck says.
Although 24% of survey participants around the world said the economy has forced them to cut back on wellness services, but 19% said their companies have enhanced wellness programs.
The percentage of participating employers using wellness incentive awards was 56% in the United States, 42% in Asia and 33% in Australia.