Randomized-Controlled Study: Wellness Programs Don’t Work

Eating better and exercising more are common sense things that most of us should do. And so it makes sense that a program at work that encourages these things will help us be healthier, which will, in turn, mean we’ll show up to work and not need quite so much health care.

That’s a common thought and that’s what previous studies have shown.

But, a new study flips that on its head. And we should all pay attention because this is the first randomized-controlled study to look at wellness programs.

Here’s what researcher Damon Jones and his team found at the University of Illinois did and what they found.


Jones invited the staff at the university–around 12,000 people to participate, but only 5,000 wanted to participate. Of these 5000, one-third were assigned to a control group, while the others joined this wellness program.

To keep reading, click here: Randomized-Controlled Study: Wellness Programs Don’t Work

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7 thoughts on “Randomized-Controlled Study: Wellness Programs Don’t Work

  1. I see a possible future of compulsory wellness programs if the trends continue. Currently the company I work for will not hire tobacco users. Employees above an arbitrary BMI or have high blood pressure/sugar/cholesterol have to pay extra for medical benefits. What’s next? If you do not complete your 30 minutes of aerobic exercise 3 times a week you are fired? Only hire vegan?

    1. That is insane!! I weigh 106 lbs and still have genetic high cholesterol/blood sugar issues…so would they charge me more for my nonexistent poor lifestyle choices?! Or would I have the “option” of handing over my medical information to my employer to avoid paying more? Of the many moronic decisions this country has made, tying health insurance to employment has got to be somewhere in the Top 25.

  2. And what about people like me who choose not to particpate because I see it as a privacy issue. The extent to which I exercise or participate in health-related classes is part of the overall picture of how I manage my health. Which is none of anyone’s business. I simply don’t want my employer to be able to track how often I go to the gym. They don’t need to know what issues I’m struggling with by virture of knowing which classes I’m attending.

    Employers can “control” our health insofar as what they provide in house – healthy option snack machines only, no smoking allowed on company property, an in-house gym, etc. But they don’t need to know what I do or don’t do off hours in terms of my health.

    1. I agree with your comment about the lack of privacy and the control emphasis by businesses to employees using labor costs as reasons to do this, because of those same restrictions on privacy not being held on the higher paid employees (CEO”s) who are the real waste of money being spent by the company.

  3. While offering an optional fun run now and again is fine, some employers pry way too much into employees’ personal lives in the name of wellness. Let them deal with health issues in their own arena: addressing bullying, stopping harassment, and reducing stress by assuring effective management.

    1. “Let them deal with health issues in their own arena: addressing bullying, stopping harassment, and reducing stress by assuring effective management.”


  4. People always seem to forget that the person who pushed the modern corporate wellness program at Safeway ended up leaving the company in disgrace after wasting millions of dollars.

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