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Wellness programs: Employees want stress relief

Stress continues to drive employees' work-related health concerns, which is probably why most respondents (78 percent) in a recent survey claim they would participate in a company-sponsored program to help their overall health and wellness.

In a recent study commissioned by the American Association of Occupational Health Nurses, Inc. (AAOHN), 500 full-time employees nationwide were interviewed by phone.

"Today's employees are clearly dealing with a lot of pressures such as the effects of 9/11, an unstable economy, national security threats and work/balance issues. There is a real opportunity for employers to serve as an ally to their employees by providing them with resources to better manage their physical and emotional health - anything from stress management seminars to nutrition and exercise counseling," says Deborah V. DiBenedetto, president of AAOHN.

Nearly 80 percent of respondents believe their overall health would improve if they were offered the right information and tools through a viable work site health and wellness program.

Topping the list of most interesting programs cited by employees is stress management (85 percent), closely followed by screening programs (84 percent), exercise/physical fitness programs (84 percent), health insurance education (81 percent) and disease management seminars (80 percent).

More than half of employees (61 percent) would prefer to receive health and wellness information from a healthcare consultant or on-site nurse, compared to pamphlets or brochures (18 percent) or human resources staff (15 percent).

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