Fitness Trackers, Wellness Programs Get New Scrutiny
Evidence that people get healthier when using fitness trackers is limited because studies have mostly been small or focused on specific groups. Meanwhile, the government agency charged with protecting workers from discrimination writes a proposed regulation for wellness programs that attempts to strike a balance between employers who want to use financial incentives to drive participation and consumer advocates who see penalties as coercive.
The Associated Press:
Fitness Trackers Are Hot, But Do They Really Improve Health?
Sales of fitness trackers are climbing, and the biggest maker of the gadgets, Fitbit, made a splashy debut on the stock market Thursday. But will the devices really help you get healthier? Experts agree that getting people to set goals — and then reminding them of the goals — absolutely works, and the wearable devices are built to do that. But evidence that people get healthier when using fitness trackers is limited because they are new and studies of them have mostly been small or focused on specific groups of people. (Jay, 6/23)
Kaiser Health News:
When Is A Workplace Wellness Program Coercive, Rather Than Voluntary?
Christine White pays $300 a year more for her health care because she refused to join her former employer’s wellness program, which would have required that she fill out a health questionnaire and join activities like Weight Watchers. ... Like many Americans, White gets her health coverage through an employer that uses financial rewards and penalties to get workers to sign up for wellness programs. ... Today, a small but growing number of employers tie those financial rewards to losing weight, exercising or dropping cholesterol or blood-sugar levels — often requiring workers to provide personal health information to private contractors who administer the programs. The incentives, meanwhile, can add up to hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars a year. (Appleby, 6/24)