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Objective: To determine whether changes in health risks for workers in small businesses can produce medical and productivity cost savings.

Methods: A 1-year pre- and posttest study tracked changes in 10 modifiable health risks for 2458 workers at 121 Colorado businesses that participated in a comprehensive worksite health promotion program. Risk reductions were entered into a return-on-investment (ROI) simulation model.

Results: Reductions were recorded in 10 risk factors examined, including obesity (-2.0%), poor eating habits (-5.8%), poor physical activity (-6.5%), tobacco use (-1.3%), high alcohol consumption (-1.7%), high stress (-3.5%), depression (-2.3%), high blood pressure (-0.3%), high total cholesterol (-0.9%), and high blood glucose (-0.2%). The ROI model estimated medical and productivity savings of $2.03 for every $1.00 invested.

Conclusions: Pooled data suggest that small businesses can realize a positive ROI from effective risk reduction programs.

Copyright (C) 2014 by the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine