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Making the Workplace a More Effective Site for Prevention of Noncommunicable Diseases in Adults

Tryon, Katherine MA (Oxon), MBBS; Bolnick, Howard MBA, FSA; Pomeranz, Jennifer L. JD, MPH; Pronk, Nicolaas PhD; Yach, Derek MBChB, MPH

Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine: November 2014 - Volume 56 - Issue 11 - p 1137–1144
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0000000000000300
Original Articles

Objective: Efforts to realize the potential of disease prevention in the United States have fallen behind those of peer countries, and workplace disease prevention is a major gap. This article investigates the reasons for this gap.

Methods: Literature review and expert discussions.

Results: Obstacles to effective use of workplace disease prevention include limited leadership and advocacy, poor alignment of financial incentives, limitations in research quality and investment, regulation that does not support evidence-based practice, and a dearth of community–employer partnerships.

Conclusions: We make recommendations to address these obstacles, such as the inclusion of health metrics in corporate reporting, making the workplace a central component of the strategy to combat the effect of noncommunicable diseases, and linking prevention directly benefit businesses’ bottom lines.

From The Vitality Institute (Drs Tryon and Yach), New York, NY; The Vitality Group (Mr Bolnick), Chicago, Ill.; Department of Public Health (Ms Pomeranz), Temple University, Philadelphia, PA; and Department of Society, Human Development and Health, Harvard School of Public Health (Dr Pronk), Boston, Mass.

Address correspondence to: Katherine Tryon, MA (Oxon), MBBS, The Vitality Institute, 3 Columbus Circle, Ste 1656, New York, NY 10019 (ktryon@thevitalitygroup.com).

This article was funded by The Vitality Institute, a research and advocacy component of Discovery Holdings SA. The article was undertaken in support of the Vitality Institute Commission on Health Promotion and the Prevention of Chronic Diseases in Working Age Americans.

K. Tryon and D. Yach are paid employees of the Vitality Institute, part of Discovery Holdings SA. The company has a material interest in lowering health risks among its members through workplace programs. H. Bolnick is a paid employee of the Vitality Group, part of Discovery Holdings SA. The company has a material interest in lowering health risks among its members through workplace programs. J. Pomeranz and N. Pronk declare no conflicts of interest and do not have any financial disclosures.

Copyright © 2014 by the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine