Chronic diseases account for nearly 80 percent of all health care costs. Such conditions can also affect the states’ workforce. Lost workdays and lower productivity due to chronic diseases can result in an annual economic loss of over $1 trillion dollars.
With over 4 million state employees, governors have an opportunity to improve the health of a sizeable population through prevention and wellness programs. Typical initiatives include screening programs that monitor and detect diseases before they become more costly and deadly, as well as health coaching programs that motivate and support employees in achieving health goals. Other programs include incentives such as lower premiums, cash awards, or increased time off for healthy living.
In other cases, governors can partner with the private sector and non-profits to increase opportunities in communities to be active and consume healthier diets. Governors can lead efforts to highlight healthy eating options in communities through booklets and internet sites. Policies that provide incentives for supermarkets to open stores in underserved areas and partnerships to expand law enforcement and commerce can also lead to safer places to walk and exercise.
The NGA Center’s health division analysts and experts are available to assist gubernatorial offices and states with technical assistance on prevention and wellness matters.
NGA Center Resources
- Fact Sheet: Strategic Opportunities under the ARRA Prevention and Wellness Funds
- Small Business Initiatives for Health Coverage and Disease Prevention
- Shaping a Healthy America: A Decision Making Guide
- Creating Healthy States: Building Healthy Communities
- Creating Healthy States: Building Healthy Worksites