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J Occup Environ Med. 2000 Dec;42(12):1148-55.

Financial incentives, participation in employer-sponsored health promotion, and changes in employee health and productivity: HealthPlus Health Quotient Program.

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  • 1Department of Epidemiology, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Mich., USA.


Employer-sponsored health promotion can improve employee health and morale and reduce medical claims and absenteeism. Effectiveness depends on the participation of those employees who are at increased risk of ill health. HealthPlus Health Quotient is an incentive/disincentive approach to health promotion. The employer's contribution to the employee cafeteria-plan benefit package is adjusted on the basis of an annual health risk appraisal. We evaluated whether this financial incentive/disincentive predicted participation in health promotion activities, and whether participation improved future health risk and productivity. In the first year, participation was proportional to overall health risk (P < 0.01). Participation in targeted programs was proportional to levels of body fat, cholesterol, and blood pressure. Participation in activity-related health promotion was proportional to prior-year activity or fitness scores. Health promotion participants improved their subsequent-year health risk more than did non-participants. Participation was associated with reduced illness-related absenteeism and (although inconsistently) with medical claims paid and short-term disability.

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