Essay Example on Policies Required for Employees Adoption to Healthier Lifestyle

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Vanderbilt University
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Leading a healthy life is important since it promotes well living and achieving longevity in any working environment. Anderson (2005) argues that employers want employees to adapt the healthy lifestyle to raise retention rates, reduce the rates of absenteeism, and increase the rate of productivity. Moreover, when it comes to employees health insurance resources, the healthy ones will use less of the cost. Besides, the policies help in reducing the health risks and avoid the onset of chronic diseases, and it is a form of stress management.

Employers are putting into practice policies that incentivize being healthy for a multitude of reasons all that benefit the employees individually and also the company. The key driving force behind the policies is the rising cost of health care while organizations will promote their plans by stating that they are trying to get their employees to be healthier and live longer because they care about them. Robert Bertera (1990) carried out a study in the early 90s that showed that there is a distinct decrease in health insurance costs, disability claims, as well as the number of absences employees, when a business had an active health wellness program in place. Preferably, a company can carter fully for the costs of employees, if it invests in a wellness program. Most employers prefer the carrot approach.

Ethics Related to Penalty on Failure to Adopt Healthier Lifestyle

As a result of rising health care costs, employers have and are adopting policies that are meant to keep their employees healthy. If adopted, these policies help the employees when it comes to cutting the coast of their medical bills. However, for this to happen, it is not ethical for the employers to penalize the employees if they fail to adapt, but rather they are advised to put in place programs that have the educational component that encourages the employees in realizing the benefits of adapting a healthier lifestyle (Cavico and Mujtaba, 2013). This increases the awareness of how the employees make choices on how to live and behave, according to their attitudes, tastes, and values, since the choices determine the employees physical, social, and mental well-being. This can be done through providing healthcare and medical information dissemination through seminars and counseling.

According to Kwoh (2013), wellness programs can lead to several advantages for many stakeholders. Therefore, the employers have to be sure with the approach they focus to implement in a wellness program. For example, Kwoh (2013) proposes the use of carrots or sticks approach, which provides some examples of motivational ways (carrots) or penalties (sticks) that employers might impose or offer as their wellness programs as a way of encouraging employees to become healthier. However, most employers prefer the carrot approach, which involves incentives to the employees, since it does not isolate the employees or cost jobs and promotions. However, in a report by Kwoh (2013) it is noted that there is support for a more inflicting punishment approach. People respond to a greater degree on potential losses, such as the penalties, than when they are expecting gains, like the rewards.



Bertera, R. L. (1990). The effects of workplace health promotion on absenteeism and employment costs in a large industrial population. American Journal of Public Health.

Anderson, L. et al. (2005). Health care charges associated with physical inactivity, overweight, and obesity. Preventing Chronic Disease.

Kwoh L. (2013). Shape Up or Pay Up: Firms Put in New Health Penalties.

Cavico F.J, and Mujtaba BG. (2013). Health and Wellness Policy Ethics. International Journal of Health Policy and Management.

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