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Use of Well-Being in Identification of Members With Future Health Risk Factors and Future Diagnosed Chronic Disease

Hamar, Brent, DDS, MPH; Jones, Ashlin, MA; Rickles, Michael, PhD; Coberley, Carter, PhD; Rula, Elizabeth Y., PhD

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: February 2019 - Volume 61 - Issue 2 - p 168–176
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0000000000001524

Objective: To evaluate if well-being is associated with the development of future health risks or incidence of new chronic disease.

Methods: A retrospective cohort study was employed using longitudinal well-being assessment survey data from participants of a Fortune 500 US company wellness program, claims based International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision diagnoses, and Cox proportional hazards models to assess associations between well-being and well-being change with future health risk and chronic disease incidence.

Results: Individuals who maintained high well-being and those who increased their level of well-being displayed a significantly decreased hazard of accruing new health risk and new chronic disease incidence; those whose well-being worsened over time showed significant increases in health risk and hazard of new chronic disease incidence.

Conclusions: Well-being levels and change over time are significantly associated with future development of health risk and disease incidence.

Research and Advanced Data Science, Sharecare, Inc, (Dr Hamar, Ms Jones, Dr Rickles); Concert Genetics, Inc. (Dr Coberley); Tivity Health (Dr Rula), Franklin, Tennessee.

Address correspondence to: Brent Hamar, DDS, MPH, 701 Cool Springs Blvd, Sharecare Inc, Franklin, TN 37067 (

Clinical Significance: Low well-being has previously been related to higher health care cost, hospitalization, and productivity loss. This research adds to the literature that new health risk and incidence of new disease is also significantly associated with level of well-being. This knowledge may assist in improved management of members’ health.

Conflicts of Interest and Source of Funding: This study was past funded by Healthways, which has now dissolved. Part of the company was sold to Sharecare and the remaining part of the company became Tivity Health. All authors, except for M. Rickles, were past employees and shareholders of Healthways. Final manuscript development and editing was completed under the full support and funding of Sharecare. B. Hamar, A. Jones, and M. Rickles are current employees and 401k retirement plan participants of Sharecare.

Copyright © 2019 by the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine