The evi­dence has always been anec­do­tal.  The evi­dence has also some­times been point­ed in the right direc­tion, but not the direc­tion researchers want to see – they want to see proof that par­tic­i­pa­tion in well­ness pro­grams actu­al­ly improves blood pres­sure, sug­ar lev­els, etc.

The lat­est “down­er” is a report by the Jour­nal of the Amer­i­can Med­ical Asso­ci­a­tion (JAMA), which looked at the expe­ri­ence of 33,000 employ­ees at BJ’s Whole­sale Club over a year and a half.  The find­ings were that, despite exer­cise and weight watch­ing, the employ­ees expe­ri­enced no sig­nif­i­cant long-term out­comes like low­er blood pres­sure or improved sug­ar lev­els.  This adds to the recent Illi­nois Work­place Study, which also ques­tioned the val­ue of work­place well­ness pro­grams.  Pro­po­nents, of course, say that the JAMA study did not focus on enough vari­ables, that not all pro­grams are the same, and that edu­ca­tion is not suf­fi­cient, espe­cial­ly giv­en the often-irra­tional behav­ior attrib­uted to every­one that can also defy measurement.

 

So what hap­pens to all the dol­lars spent on Fit­Bits, Apple Watch­es and all the oth­er bud­dy sys­tems we need to keep us healthy?  It will require more research!