The United States spends more on health care per capita than any other nation in the world, and yet its citizens are not the world’s healthiest. The vast majority of U.S. health care spending—an estimated 84 percent—is associated with chronic diseases and conditions such as diabetes and heart disease.
The human costs of an unhealthy population are significant, and so is the economic impact. Some experts estimate that an unhealthy workforce costs U.S. employers $576 billion annually due to lost productivity, health care costs, and wage replacement. This threatens the nation’s ability to compete with strength in the global marketplace. Employers have increasingly recognized this fact, as well as the potential they hold to influence the health of the nation.