This Day On The Street
Continue to site
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here

How to Save US $576 Billion: Take Vitamins, Exercise

NEW YORK ( BankingMyWay) -- It's no secret poor health can hurt a career, but now employers have a firm grasp on just how substantially bad health and sick days can affect the corporate bottom line.

The data comes from the Integrated Benefits Institute , a nonprofit health research and analytical firm.

The San Francisco-based firm says the U.S. economy loses a staggering $576 billion annually to poor health. Furthermore, U.S. companies lose $227 billion to lack of worker productivity.

The firm defines "lost productivity" as employees being out of work due to illness or if their work suffers because they show up despite being ill (a syndrome IBI calls "presenteeism").

It's an issue that hasn't generated a great deal of buzz, but IBI says poor health and workplace productivity should be a "wake-up call" for politicians, businesses and the country.

"There's a reason that everyone in the U.S. is worried about the economy and health care," says Thomas Parry, IBI's president. "These are two fundamental issues that are tightly coupled through health's impact on productivity and shape our standards of living. Since this election is weighing heavily on how the candidates tackle these issues, it's important that we recognize how they are connected. Illness costs this country hundreds of billions of dollars, and this should serve as a wake-up call for both candidates and employers to invest in the health of workers, for the sake of the people and the benefit of U.S. business."

The data show that companies that invest in employees' health, usually through wellness programs and compensation practices tied to healthy lifestyle habits, can save big bucks.

IBI points to data from Cornell University economist Sean Nicholson. "The literature shows that employers can save an average of $3 for every $1 they invest in improving their workers' health, so there are opportunities for companies to increase profits and wages while they improve worker health," Nicholson says.

Yet beefing up worker productivity in the face of health issues is a tall order.

A separate study highlighted in the October issue of Population Health Management shows a poor diet, for example, is a big drag on worker productivity. The study notes that employees with an unhealthy diet were 66% more likely to be less productive than those employees whose diet was rich in fruits, nuts and vegetables.

Low-or-no exercise workers were 50% more likely to be less productive than their workout-happy peers, and 28% of employees who smoked fared worse in terms of productivity, PHM reports.

With the tab of sick workers and unproductive workers nearing a trillion dollars annually, companies can't deny that it really pays to have healthy employees.

More on the workplace:

8 work productivity killers

Take this job and love it: Returning to the job that fired you

We are all temps now, and loving it

--By Brian O'Connell

Follow TheStreet on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook.

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Action Alerts PLUS

Portfolio Manager Jim Cramer and Director of Research Jack Mohr reveal their investment tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
Quant Ratings

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
Stocks Under $10

David Peltier uncovers low dollar stocks with serious upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
14-Days Free
Only $9.95
14-Days Free
Dividend Stock Advisor

David Peltier identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Trifecta Stocks

Every recommendation goes through 3 layers of intense scrutiny—quantitative, fundamental and technical analysis—to maximize profit potential and minimize risk.

Product Features:
  • Model Portfolio
  • Intra Day Trade alerts
  • Access to Quant Ratings
Real Money

More than 30 investing pros with skin in the game give you actionable insight and investment ideas.

Product Features:
  • Access to Jim Cramer's daily blog
  • Intraday commentary and news
  • Real-time trading forums
Only $49.95
14-Days Free
14-Days Free
AAPL $94.99 0.00%
FB $99.54 0.00%
GOOG $678.11 0.00%
TSLA $148.25 0.00%
YHOO $26.82 0.00%


Chart of I:DJI
DOW 16,014.38 -12.67 -0.08%
S&P 500 1,852.21 -1.23 -0.07%
NASDAQ 4,268.7630 -14.99 -0.35%

Free Reports

Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs