Worksite Wellness Programs on the USA-Mexico Border
Worksite wellness programs (WWPs) have the potential to reduce absenteeism, increase productivity, and improve employee attitudes and job performance with distinct economic benefits. The purpose of this study was to collect data about WWPs in the manufacturing industry in El Paso, Texas and formulate recommendations to increase the use of WWPs to protect, promote and improve the health of this workforce. RESULTS: The results of this study indicate a lack of worksite wellness programs in small to medium-sized manufacturers. Worksite size was a strong indicator of the number of worksite wellness program activities that were offered. Large worksites were more likely to offer more activities than small or medium sized worksites. This difference is perhaps due to a greater availability of resources (such as money, facilities, staff, etc.). Administrators perception of worksite wellness programs is of particular interest. The main benefit reported by respondents with existing WWPs was improved health and decreased health problems (83%) and decreased health care costs (70%). Conversely, the main barrier perceived by administrators at sites lacking WWPs was that implementation was too costly (38%). Cost may be perceived as the major barrier because companies without wellness programs may only consider the start-up costs. Information on the long-term economic benefits of WWPs could alter this perception. Future efforts to initiate worksite wellness programs must be tailored to meet the needs of small and medium sized companies in this border community.