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Worksites: Heart Health and Your Bottom Line
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The average annual payment from large U.S. companies for heart related insurance claims is $4,639! Find out how you can help lower these costs for your company.


Why Do Heart Disease and Stroke Matter to You?
The annual direct and indirect cost of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and stroke in the United States is an estimated $312.6 billion.

This includes $192.1 billion in direct costs, such as the cost of physicians and other professionals, hospital services, prescribed medication, and home health care, but not the cost of nursing home care; and $120.5 billion in indirect costs, such as lost future productivity attributed to premature CVD and stroke mortality in 2009.

Accounting for 15% of total health expenditures in 2009, CVD cost more than any major diagnostic group.
- Go, Alan S. et al (2013). Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics—2013 Update: A Report from the American Heart Association. Circulation.127:e6-e245

Heart Disease and Stroke are the leading causes of death in Utah and in the nation. Together, they account for more deaths than the next three causes combined. Both of these diseases also account for a large number of disabilities. For companies that provide insurance to their employees, this translates into a lot of money towards heart disease and stroke care and a lot of lost time and wages for employees who suffer from these diseases or whose family members suffer from them. Employees with one or more risk factors for heart disease and stroke are much more costly to employers than those with no risk factors.

Leading Causes of Death, Utah, 2009-2011


Cause of Death Table


Who Can Help Lower the Risks of Heart Disease and Stroke for Your Employees?
There are many people in the community who can help lower your costs for heart disease and stroke.

  • Government can create laws that affect the health of employees; examples include anti-tobacco and seatbelt laws.
  • Employees' families influence what they eat as well as their level of physical activity.
  • Communities provide ways to get exercise and nutritious foods.

All of these combined can help employees to be healthier but you as an employer have the attention of your employees about 40 hours a week. That is almost one fourth of their week spent in the workplace. The example you set in your worksite has great power to influence them to make healthy decisions.

Many companies in the United States and in Utah have taken the initiative to help their employees be healthier.

Here in Utah:  
  • Owner's Resorts and Exchange: Employees bought pedometers and were able to "walk to the resorts" by keeping track of the number of miles they walked ( the furthest away is in Hawaii) the first people to get there received awards.
  • Cream O' Weber: Held an event in which participants could choose different wellness activities in conjunction with the Salt Lake Marathon.
  • Salt Lake Valley Emergency Communications Center: Hosts several wellness activities throughout the year for employees. Participants earn points for each activity, their health insurance cost is reduced based on the number of points they earn.
  • WesTech Engineering: Changed the contents of their vending machines to be healthier.
  • BD Medical: Has a team of health and wellness professionals who offer a holistic approach to health. The team includes an on-site care manager from their insurance company, a fitness specialist, part time Employee Assistance Program (EAP) counselor and physical therapist and an occupational health nurse. The team runs an incentive wellness program, a 24-hour fitness facility, and provides disease management and health education for individuals and select groups of associates with chronic disease.

    If you would like us to feature your company on this webpage, please email us your healthy worksite story. Don't forget to include your contact information.
Across the Nation :  
  • Highsmith Co.: Have reduced health insurance premiums for healthy employees.
  • Fieldale Farms: Ensures employees get the best health insurance benefits they can for heart disease and also are in direct contact with hospitals and their employee clinic to make certain that the employees are getting good care. They also provide mobile screenings and personalized follow-up care.
  • Duke University: Provides in person and telephone based personal health counseling.
  • Johnson & Johnson: Offers incentives for completing a health risk assessment. They also offer tobacco cessation benefits. The tobacco cessation benefits included classes, having a stop smoking coach, and the use of medications to help the smoker stop.
  • Find more examples across the nation.

What Can You Do Now?


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention researched creation of heart healthy workplaces and found the following to be most beneficial:

  • Tobacco-free policies and tobacco cessation services
  • Health education classes and support groups with individual goal setting
  • Low-cost nutritious food in cafeterias and snack bars; point-of-purchase information
  • Places for physical activity: marked walking paths, signage to encourage stair use, health clubs/gyms
  • Wellness messages-warning signs and symptoms of heart attack and stroke, and when to call 9-1-1
  • Incentives to engage in healthy behavior
  • Blood pressure monitors, CPR classes, Automated External Defibrillators (AED)

How Do You Start?  

The Utah Department of Health Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention Program has developed several tools to help you create a more heart healthy worksite. Check out our available resources if you would like more information on creating a heart healthy workplace.