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Part II: Colorado study examines worker wellness program

As our regular readers undoubtedly remember, our last post took a look at a Colorado-based study on how wellness programs might benefit both workers and employers. Past research has shown that in large companies, improved worker wellness can reduce workplace injuries and workers' compensation costs.

As its title suggests, the study called "Implementation of a Worksite Wellness Program Targeting Small Businesses: The Pinnacol Assurance Health Risk Management Study" examined potential benefits of wellness programs at small Colorado businesses.

Of the 6,507 people studied, 38.9 percent are considered of normal weight, 34.3 percent were classified as overweight and 25.6 percent are considered obese.

Slightly more than 1 out 10 workers (11.5 percent) get no significant exercise, while another 4.3 percent said they don't eat either fruits or vegetables on daily basis. 

The study also revealed that Colorado small business employees believe they lead stressful lives. An overwhelming majority - 71.5 percent - say they have moderate or high levels of stress involving their jobs, their home lives or their finances.

More than one in five (22 percent) report that they deal with depression; 20.4 percent struggle with chronic fatigue; 18.4 percent have sleep difficulties; 16.3 percent are living with arthritis; and 15.3 percent have hypertension (there is obviously overlapping among the groups).

It is unknown to what degree participation in work-based wellness programs would improve the lives of people in the various categories, or how the frequency of workplace injuries or illness might be decreased as a result.

If you are being forced to deal with the stress of a with a denial of a workers' comp claim for your injury or illness, discuss the matter with an attorney experienced in fighting for the rights and interests of workers in appeals.

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