Why invest in community health?

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What does business have to do with improving community health?

Plenty. In fact, you could argue that it will be impossible to achieve community goals for better overall health without the involvement of local employers. Businesses have the capacity to provide leadership, direct their philanthropy, advocate for effective policy, boost volunteerism, and promote health within their organizations.

And they have skin in the game. The private sector bears the burden of direct and indirect health costs, including health plan premiums, workers’ compensation, disability, absenteeism, presenteeism, employee retention and turnover, and low morale. Currently, as much as 50 percent of company profits go towards those costs. (PHI, 2013)

It’s not surprising that more than 90 percent of larger businesses, and more than 60 percent of smaller businesses offer at least one wellness benefit for their employees. (Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, 2013)

But what if businesses broadened their focus by working with public health leaders to improve the health of their employees – from the outside in?

Collaboratively investing in community health can have a significant ROI. For example: Every $1 invested in biking and walking trails can return benefits up to $11.80 and for every $1 invested in food and nutrition education, there is a $10 return in reduced health care costs. (American Public Health Association, 2013)

When businesses and communities share goals for better health across the population, great things happen. And now, HWHC is giving these essential stakeholders access to strategies and resources that make this collaboration possible.

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