Promoting health and wellness in the workplace: a unique opportunity to establish primary and extended secondary cardiovascular risk reduction programs

Mayo Clin Proc. 2013 Jun;88(6):605-17. doi: 10.1016/j.mayocp.2013.03.002.


Given the burden of cardiovascular disease (CVD), increasing the prevalence of healthy lifestyle choices is a global imperative. Currently, cardiac rehabilitation programs are a primary way that modifiable risk factors are addressed in the secondary prevention setting after a cardiovascular (CV) event/diagnosis. Even so, there is wide consensus that primary prevention of CVD is an effective and worthwhile pursuit. Moreover, continual engagement with individuals who have already been diagnosed as having CVD would be beneficial. Implementing health and wellness programs in the workplace allows for the opportunity to continually engage a group of individuals with the intent of effecting a positive and sustainable change in lifestyle choices. Current evidence indicates that health and wellness programs in the workplace provide numerous benefits with respect to altering CV risk factor profiles in apparently healthy individuals and in those at high risk for or already diagnosed as having CVD. This review presents the current body of evidence demonstrating the efficacy of worksite health and wellness programs and discusses key considerations for the development and implementation of such programs, whose primary intent is to reduce the incidence and prevalence of CVD and to prevent subsequent CV events. Supporting evidence for this review was obtained from PubMed, with no date limitations, using the following search terms: worksite health and wellness, employee health and wellness, employee health risk assessments, and return on investment. The choice of references to include in this review was based on study quality and relevance.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cardiovascular Diseases / diagnosis
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / economics
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Health Behavior
  • Humans
  • Life Style
  • Occupational Health* / economics
  • Organizational Culture
  • Primary Prevention / methods*
  • Primary Prevention / organization & administration
  • Program Development
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Secondary Prevention / methods*
  • Secondary Prevention / organization & administration
  • United States