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Investing in Community Health Means A Healthier WorkforceFor businesses that draw on their own communities for employees, investing in community health can mean saving big money down the road. Especially in areas with low overall health scores, engaging in health efforts such as non-smoking campaigns can help cut wellness costs when the people of the community later become your employees.

The following articles and blog posts explore the ways businesses have started to invest in their communities, and how you can improve your community’s health and wellness for the future.

Why Employers Should Invest in Community Health. BenefitsPro:The report suggests that employers find ways to engage in community efforts to improve health. That means businesses across different sectors need to collaborate with nonprofits, schools and other community organizations to encourage physical fitness and healthy eating, as well as to discourage smoking and other unhealthy behaviors. Examples of successful endeavors include the ‘Let's Move! Action Schools’ program that brought in money from a number of sporting goods chains –– including $50 million from Nike –– to support exercise programs in schools across the country. In another instance, the YMCA of Central Florida partnered with the Orlando health system to integrate community and clinical care for workers with the broader community.”

Landmark Study Reveals Connection Between Workforce Health and Community Health. Robert Wood Johnson Foundation:A study conducted by the Vitality Institute and supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) finds that the health of the workforce is linked to the overall health of the community in which it is located. Understanding this connection may help businesses improve workforce productivity and reduce healthcare costs. The study, presented in a report titled Beyond the Four Walls: Why Community is Critical to Workforce Health, is being released today. Researchers analyzed health data such as obesity, smoking rates and deaths due to cardiovascular disease from more than 3,100 US counties, and compared these associations 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.”

Are Healthy Communities Composed of Healthy Employees? Modern Healthcare:Many health systems have begun to look at ways to improve the overall health of the patient populations they serve as a way to reduce costs in the face of reimbursement changes that penalize frequent hospital readmissions. According to Laura Ritzler, director of wellness for ProMedica, combining community health initiatives with workplace wellness incentives is a natural way of addressing both problems since a good portion of the Toledo, Ohio-based health system's 16,000 employees live in the many communities where it has facilities. Not-for-profit ProMedica was one of the first major health systems in the country that sought to address nonmedical social factors, such as poverty, homelessness and hunger in their local communities as a way of improving health outcomes.”

Community Is Critical to Workforce Health. Vitality Institute: “Failing to address the environmental and social drivers of workforce health at the community level is a major barrier to the effectiveness of workplace health promotion initiatives. The Vitality Institute (the Institute) report ‘Beyond the Four Walls: Why Community is Critical to Workforce Health’ takes a deep dive into the relationship between business profitability and community health. To start, we know that across industries – from manufacturing to arts or technology – workers have varying rates of health outcomes such as smoking, diabetes, and obesity...But are certain industries more likely to be located in counties with poor health, and if so, how does this impact workforce health? To address this knowledge gap, the Institute analyzed health data...and found that certain industries are indeed more likely to be located in counties with poor population health.”

'Healthy and Stable Communities' Make Better Business Environments. Devex:Not long ago, there was heavy skepticism around the idea of private industries involving themselves in global and sustainable development. When companies invested in corporate social responsibility, many viewed it as a for-profit public relations stunt. ‘CSR as PR’ was the tagline often bandied about. But recently, that image has been reversed. Last month, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon highlighted business as a ‘force for good’ during a speech before the General Assembly for the  5 years of the U.N. Global Compact, which has been dubbed the world’s largest corporate sustainability initiative. The Africa Progress Panel, led by former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan...also highlighted the leading role of the private sector in their 2015 Africa Progress Report.”

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