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Health screenings prompt workers to eat better, exercise more often.

More than four in five workers participate in worksite health screenings offered by their employers, and nearly half of them say they eat healthier and exercise more often as a result, according to a survey of 1,700 employees at small and medium-sized businesses.

The annual survey of leading practices in employee benefits, conducted by Principal Financial Group, also found that motivations to participate in health screenings and other offerings associated with wellness programs differ by age. Employees aged 18-34 said they were more likely to take advantage of wellness benefits if they received an incentive or reward, while those 45 and older primarily wanted to live longer, healthier lives.

Wellness programs are more prevalent (19 percent) among mid-sized businesses--those with 501 to 1,000 workers--than among businesses with fewer than 500 employees (7 percent). Health screenings are a core component of most wellness programs, and 84 percent of workers surveyed who had access to screenings participated in them. Nearly as many (78 percent) said they would take advantage of health screenings if their employers offered them.

Principal recognizes 10 small and mid-sized companies each year for best practices in health care, and all of them honored in 2004 provide wellness programs for their employees. Other wellness initiatives offered by these companies include the following:

* Paying employees to lead healthier lifestyles;

* Providing on-site fitness facilities;

* Sponsoring weight management programs; and

* Offering smoking cessation programs. For more information, visit principal.com.
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Publication:The Journal of Employee Assistance
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:May 1, 2005
Words:240
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