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Small business Workplace Wellness Challenge kicks off Dec. 5 in Lansing

November 29, 2012

The Small Business Association of Michigan (SBAM), Public Sector Consultants (PSC) and the Michigan Fitness Foundation (MFF) on Dec. 5 at 12:30 p.m. at the State Capitol will kick-off the 16-week “Worksite Wellness Challenge.” The challenge is designed to demonstrate a model that Michigan small businesses can adopt to help improve the health of their employees, thereby potentially reducing health care insurance costs for small businesses.

Participating staff members of the three organizations will don Worksite Wellness Challenge t-shirts and do a group walk from the Capitol to the Hall of Justice and back again. Members of the press are welcome to participate.

From Dec. 3 to March 18, participating SBAM, PSC and MFF employees will be asked to try to meet the following health behavior goals:

  • Conduct 150 minutes of moderate activity per week
  • Exercise using weights or resistance for 20 minutes, at least two times per week
  • Limit consumption of sugar sweetened beverages (e.g., regular soda, sports or energy drink, juice, sweetened tea, sweetened coffee) to no more than one 8 oz. serving per day
  • Eat five or more servings of fruits and vegetables per day 
  • Eat breakfast everyday
  • Limit sweets to one serving per day 
  • Sleep at least seven hours per night
  • Take 20 minutes of quiet, personal time per day

An external evaluator from Michigan State University has been hired to conduct an evaluation of the demonstration project. The evaluator will analyze data collected throughout the Challenge, including data on participation, health behaviors, and individual biometrics, to look for changes in aggregate data and/or each organization.

Large self-insured employers directly benefit from offering wellness programs that reduce the growth in medical claims and lower cost pressures on premiums. But unlike big firms, small businesses with two-49 employees do not directly benefit from current wellness programs. In Michigan’s small business market, any cost savings from healthier employees goes back into the broad insurance pool and has little or no direct impact on the health insurance tab of an individual small business.

SBAM, PSC and the MFF hope to show that workplace wellness programs in small businesses do make a difference, thus supporting the argument that wellness efforts deserve some kind of lower premium, discount or other financial incentive from insurance companies.

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