Estimating the return on investment from a health risk management program offered to small Colorado-based employers

J Occup Environ Med. 2014 May;56(5):554-60. doi: 10.1097/JOM.0000000000000152.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Colorado
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis*
  • Female
  • Health Promotion / economics*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupational Health*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Risk Reduction Behavior*