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Researchers Take Global View of Wellness Efforts

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A team backed by affiliates of MetLife Inc. has looked at what multinational employers are doing to improve employees’ health.

MetLife Multinational Solutions, part of MetLife, New York (NYSE:MET), and the MetLife Mature Market Institute, Westport, Conn., sponsored the study, and researchers at the Sloan Center on Aging & Work at Boston College conducted reviews of benefits concerns and strategies at 4 multinational employers.

Health care costs are higher in the United States than in other countries, such as the United Kingdom, but the cost of absenteeism tends to be more of a concern outside the United States, the researchers found.

Chronic health problems associated with aging and prosperity are becoming more of a problem in countries such as China, India and Mexico as well as in developed countries.

Concrete incentives to participate in health and wellness programs are more common in the United States than elsewhere, and the only penalties commonly used are medical insurance surcharges for smokers.