Businesses are attracted to cities with lower costs of health care. According to its 2009 studies of 187 U.S. metro areas, Gallup-Healthways estimated that the direct costs associated with obesity and related chronic conditions are about $50 million per 100,000 residents annually in cities with the highest rates of obesity. Using their calculator, the estimated 2013 population of 268,200 for Benton and Franklin Counties, and our obesity rate of 30 percent, obesity costs us approximately $134 million per year. Employers recognize that healthy workers are more productive and less costly than those who are chronically ill.
The Benton-Franklin Community Health Alliance has partnered with the Tri-City Regional Chamber of Commerce for three years to help coordinate their "Good Health is Good Business" program, which officially kicked off at the end of July. Besides encouraging businesses to promote worksite wellness, the chamber also recognized businesses that had an onsite wellness program. Here are what businesses are doing to promote worksite wellness, as well as advice from their employees: