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A Systematic Review of the Evidence Concerning the Economic Impact of Employee-Focused Health Promotion and Wellness Programs

Lerner, Debra MS, PhD; Rodday, Angie Mae MS; Cohen, Joshua T. PhD; Rogers, William H. PhD

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: February 2013 - Volume 55 - Issue 2 - p 209–222
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e3182728d3c
Original Articles

Objective: To assess the evidence regarding the economic impact of worker health promotion programs.

Objective: Peer-reviewed research articles were identified from a database search. Included articles were published between January 2000 and May 2010, described a study conducted in the United States that used an experimental or quasi-experimental study design and analyzed medical, pharmacy (direct), and/or work productivity (indirect) costs. A multidisciplinary review team, following specific criteria, assessed research quality.

Results: Of 2030 retrieved articles, 44 met study inclusion criteria. Of these, 10 were of sufficient quality to be considered evidentiary. Only three analyzed direct and indirect costs.

Conclusions: Evidence regarding economic impact is limited and inconsistent. Higher-quality research is needed to demonstrate the value of specific programs.

From the Program on Health, Work and Productivity (Drs Lerner and Rogers), Institute for Clinical Research and Health Policy Studies (Drs Lerner, Cohen, and Rogers and Ms Rodday), Tufts Medical Center, Center for the Evaluation of Value and Risk in Health (Dr Cohen), Tufts Medical Center, and the Sackler Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences (Drs Lerner, Cohen, and Rogers), Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, Mass.

Address correspondence to: Debra Lerner, MS, PhD, Institute for Clinical Research and Health Policy Studies, Tufts Medical Center, 800 Washington St, Box 345, Boston, MA 02111 (

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

©2013The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine