Should Your Workplace Wellness Program Include Diabetes Prevention?

August 09, 2017

Before implementing a workplace wellness program, there are many factors to consider. Will the program be relevant to a large percentage of employees? Can it result in a significant increase in physical or mental well-being? Will it do so in a cost-effective way? If you’re considering a diabetes prevention program, the answer to all three questions is yes.

Type 2 Diabetes, sometimes called adult-onset diabetes, is a chronic condition that can result in blindness, hearing impairment, amputation, kidney damage, heart disease and other serious complications. Prediabetes is a precursor to diabetes. The condition is becoming more and more common, but workplace wellness programs can help.

Diabetes is more common than you might realize.

To understand the importance of workplace wellness programs to prevent diabetes, we need to know how incredibly common the condition is.

According to the CDC, more than 29 million Americans have diabetes and 86 million adults have prediabetes. This equates to more than one out of three Americans. As a result, it’s safe to assume that diabetes should be a major concern for many of your workers.

However, many of your employees may not realize this. Approximately 25 percent of people with diabetes don’t know they have the condition.

The situation is even worse for prediabetes because most people don’t learn of the condition unless they are screened for it. The CDC estimates that 90 percent of people with prediabetes do not realize they are at risk of developing diabetes. This means that most people miss the warning they need to change their exercise and diet habits to prevent diabetes.

The economic burden of diabetes is significant.

Because diabetes is so common, it has a major impact on businesses. The condition can result in reduced productivity, missed work and shortened careers. It can also have an understandably negative impact on workplace morale.

According to the American Medical Association, employers pay an average of $2,700 over three years for each employee who is diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.

A wellness program could save your company money.

A workplace wellness program is a cost-effective way of reducing the rate of diabetes, along with the physical, emotional and economic problems it causes.

 Screening identifies individuals who are at risk, and program participation provides those individuals with the resources they need to reduce the likelihood of a diabetes diagnosis.

The average cost is usually only $450 per participant. To see how much participation could save your company, use the AMA DPP Cost Saving Calculator.   

Is a diabetes prevention program right for your company?

Again, one out of three adults has prediabetes. This statistic means that most businesses – likely including yours – are affected. Certain factors, including being over 45 years old and being overweight, increase the risk.

If you think diabetes could be a problem for your employees, consider implementing a diabetes prevention program. Ask your Heffernan agent for assistance.