How local businesses impact population health: 3 things to know

The health of the business workforce could have a significant impact on the overall health of the community in which it is located, according to a study conducted by the Vitality Institute and supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Here are three highlights from the study.

1. For the study, which was presented in a report titled "Beyond the Four Walls: Why Community is Critical to Workforce Health," researchers analyzed health data such as obesity, smoking rates and deaths due to cardiovascular disease from more than 3,100 U.S. counties, and compared that information  to workforce health data from across 21 major industries. The analysis revealed that industries with workers more likely to be in poor health are also more likely to be located in counties with poor health.

2. In addition to the data analysis, researchers also conducted interviews with leaders at more than 70 businesses and community organizations, and identified the three effective strategies employers use for improving the health of their communities:

  • Strategic use of philanthropy
  • Corporate social responsibility
  • Creating shared value by extending workplace health strategies to the community

3. The report's authors call on business leaders to partner with community groups to implement the three strategies above.

The report's authors also call on businesses to use local data to determine what types of programs are most needed in their community, and partner with local research institutions and health organizations to evaluate the impact of their initiatives.


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