Healthier Americans for a Healthier Economy

Preventing disease is one of the most common sense ways to improve health in America. But it is also a major factor for improving the economy. More than half of all Americans currently live with one or more chronic illness, including heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer. High rates of these diseases, which in many cases are preventable, are among the biggest drivers of U.S. health care costs and they are harming worker productivity.

Employers around the country are searching for ways to support the health and wellness of their employees and their families while also struggling with high costs of benefits. For example, as Tom Mason, president of the Alliance for a Healthier Minnesota, has said, “we’ve heard from employers around the state that their health care costs are unsustainable and they want to do something about it.” Many employers are finding that workplace and community wellness programs offer a win-win way to make a real difference. They can make sense for the health of employees and their families and for the employer’s bottom line.

This RWJF-supported report by Trust for America's Health (TFAH) features six examples of places around the country where employers are working with communities to provide common sense ways to make healthier choices easier for employees and their families. These include:

  1. Minnesota
  2. Texas
  3. Nashville, Tenn.
  4. Indiana
  5. San Diego, Calif.
  6. Hernando, Miss.

Their stories examine how different states, cities and towns have recognized that a community’s health affects its ability to attract and retain employers, and how many businesses and organizations understand the value of workplace and community wellness programs for improving productivity and reducing health spending.