iLoveBenefits: Industry News Blog

Should wellness programs be sponsored by your employer

According to a recent survey, only 48% of employees had participated in an employer-sponsored program to help them improve their physical health. Source: “Employees Report High Satisfaction with Health and Well-being Programs, but More Personalization is Needed,” National Business Group on Health Press Release, July 20, 2016,

2.7% of US Adults Achieve All Four Healthy Behaviors

Researchers from Oregon State University and the University of Mississippi recently conducted a study on four healthy lifestyle behaviors (good diet, moderate exercise, recommended body fat percentage, non-smoking) in U.S. adults. Here are some key findings from the report:

  • 2.7% of all adults had all four healthy lifestyle characteristics, while 16% had three.
  • 37% had two, 34% had one, and 11% had none of the healthy lifestyle characteristics.
  • Mexican American adults were more likely to eat a healthy diet than non-Hispanic white or black adults.
  • Women were more likely to not smoke and eat a healthy diet, but less likely to be sufficiently active.
  • 1 in 10 had a normal body fat percentage and 46% were sufficiently active.
  • 71% adults did not smoke and 38% ate a healthy diet.

Source: Oregon State University, March 21, 2016

30% don’t trust their employers to be involved in their health and well-being

According to a recent survey:

  • Just half of employees participated in a wellness activity or health management-related program in the last year
  • 71% of employees prefer to manage their own health
  • 32% said the wellness initiatives offered by their employers don’t meet their needs
  • 46% don’t want their employers to have access to their personal health information
  • 30% don’t trust their employers to be involved in their health and well-being

Source: “Primary Care physicians accepting Medicare: A Snapshot ,” The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, October 2015,

71% said they agree or strongly agree that they prefer to manage their own health

According to a recent survey:

  • 8% of employees used a telemedicine service offered by their employee wellness program
  • 50% of employees participated in some kind of wellness activity or health-related program in the last year
  • 71% said they agree or strongly agree that they prefer to manage their own health
  • 46% said they don’t want their employer to have access to their personal health information
  • 32% said health initiatives offered by employers do not meet their needs

Source: “Survey: 8 percent of employees used a telemedicine service last year,” mobihealthnews, October 7, 2015,

How pervasive are flu shots by age group?

According to a government report, the percentage of Americans who had received an influenza vaccination during the past 12 months, as of January-March 2015, was:

  • 71.9% of persons aged 65 and over
  •  50.7% of persons aged 50–64 years
  • 32.5% of persons aged 18–49 years
  • 51.2% of persons aged 6 months–17 years

Source: “Early Release of Selected Estimates Based on Data From the January–March 2015 National Health Interview Survey,” National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, September 2015,

The Evolution has Begun

Survey: Teens and Digital Health Information

Northwestern University recently conducted a national survey regarding teens and their approach to digital health information. Here are some key findings from the report:

  • 84% of teens have gotten health information online.
  • About a quarter (21%) of teens have used digital health tools (mobile apps, digital games, wearables).
  • 32% say they have changed their behavior due to digital health information or tools.
  • A third of teens turn to the Internet when a health issue arises to check symptoms and diagnose themselves.
  • 1 in 10 teens say they get “a lot” of health information from social networking sites.
  • Fitness (42%) and nutrition (36%) are the top health issues teens research online.

Source: Northwestern University, June 2015

Will vaccines hit the mark next flu season?

Changes to flu vaccine for 2015-16 season recommended by FDA committee The FDA’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee recommended an overhaul for the influenza vaccine for the 2015-16 season after the vaccine for the 2014-15 season proved to be largely ineffective. This season’s vaccine did not include the A/Switzerland/9715293/2013-like virus, which turned out to be the most prevalent strain. The World Health Organization has recommended it be included in next year’s vaccine, along with a new H1N1 A strain, A/California/7/2009 pandemic09-like virus, and B/Phuket/3073/2013-like virus, a new B strain. The FDA and CDC concur with the WHO’s suggestion. Medscape (free registration)

CDC: Smoking Rate Dropped From 20.9% (2005) To 17.8% (2013)

According to new data published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR):

  • The number of cigarette smokers dropped from 45.1 million in 2005 to 42.1 million in 2013.
  • Those who smoke every day decreased from 80.8% in 2005 to 76.9% in 2013.
  • Cigarette smokers who smoke only on some days increased from 19.2% in 2005 to 23.1% in 2013.
  • The average number of cigarettes smoked by daily smokers declined from 16.7 in 2005 to 14.2 in 2013.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Hospital Acquired Conditions – Concerted, Coordinated Efforts Across Health Care Stakeholders Make a Difference

HHS: Hospital-acquired conditions, inpatient mortality are down The incidence of hospital-acquired conditions fell 17% from 2010 to 2013, while inpatient deaths dropped by close to 35,000 in 2013, according to an HHS report. The reduction was attributed in part to health IT tools designed to improve quality. Healthcare Informatics online

On a global basis, do investments in wellness make sense

“Reconfigure workplace wellness,” experts say Data on employee wellness programs show they may not be effective and offer a return-on-investment of less than 1-to-1, experts wrote in a Health Affairs blog post. After reviewing study data and literature, they said it is time to “reconfigure workplace wellness,” demand more information from vendors and consultants, and adopt a standard that syncs up with U.S. Preventive Services Task Force guidelines. Health Affairs Blog

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