The development and implementation of worksite health and wellness programs (WHWPs) in the United States (US) hold promise as a means to improve population health and reverse current trends in non-communicable disease incidence and prevalence. However, WHWPs face organizational, economic, systematic, legal, and logistical challenges which have combined to impact program availability and expansion. Even so, there is a burgeoning body of evidence indicating WHWPs can significantly improve the health profile of participating employees in a cost effective manner. This foundation of scientific knowledge justifies further research inquiry to elucidate optimal WHWP models. It is clear that the development, implementation and operation of WHWPs require a strong commitment from organizational leadership, a pervasive culture of health and availability of necessary resources and infrastructure. Since organizations vary significantly, there is a need to have flexibility in creating a customized, effective health and wellness program. Furthermore, several key legal issues must be addressed to facilitate employer and employee needs and responsibilities; the US Affordable Care Act will play a major role moving forward. The purposes of this review are to: 1) examine currently available health and wellness program models and considerations for the future; 2) highlight key legal issues associated with WHWP development and implementation; and 3) identify challenges and solutions for the development and implementation of as well as adherence to WHWPs.
Keywords: Access; Employee; Employer; Healthcare; Insurance; Law; Lifestyle.
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