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Preventive care is important to workers, but many skip routine checkups, survey finds



Dive Brief:

  • One in four employed U.S. adults skip regular checkups because they’re feeling healthy, although doing so could put their health at risk, according a June survey by supplemental health insurance provider Aflac, Inc. More than half (51%) of the respondents who have had cancer said their diagnosis came as a result of a routine checkup or screening, Aflac said.
  • Attitudes vary widely by generation, the survey found. Gen Z feels the least control over their mental and physical health, but they are the most likely to skip annual wellness visits: Only 29% are self-motivated to go to the doctor, compared to 64% of Baby boomers, followed by Gen X and millennials, according to the findings. Almost two-thirds (64%) of Baby boomers and 55% of Gen X think preventive care is very important to their overall health and well-being, compared to 49% of millennials and 40% of Gen Z.
  • Of the 2,000 people who were surveyed, 85% said they’re more likely to have a routine checkup if offered a cash incentive to defray the cost; 64% said they benefit from family and friends encouraging them to get a checkup.

Dive Insight:

Mental health continues to be on employees’ minds, particularly those of recent college grads, studies show.

These workforce newcomers believe employers should offer mental and emotional health benefits and are prioritizing companies that do so during their job search, according to a survey released in April.

There seems to be a split, however, between what employees in general say they want and what they actually do: Less than a fifth of workers access their employers’ mental health benefits when offered, a survey of 800 full-time employees by OneMedical released in March found.

Almost half of the respondents (45%) said a packed schedule kept them from accessing the benefit. A quarter said they were embarrassed, and 22% cited costs.

Employees have shown an interest in wellness programs that include gym sponsorships, earlier studies found. Survey results released in January by research agency Opinium revealed that 65% of workers would use the benefit, while almost half said they’d participate in mindfulness sessions, and a third would consider using a yoga membership.

Mindfulness, meditation and mental well-being programs were of particular interest to parents, the research found.

HR leaders can help staff develop healthy habits in a handful of simple ways, including: stocking the office with healthy snacks and providing remote workers with information and guidance on healthy eating habits (such as how sugary snacks lead to more cravings); encouraging in-office teams to take walking meetings, or for virtual meetings where visuals aren’t needed, encouraging teams to put on headphones and go audio-only while walking outside; and teaching stress management techniques, like listening to music or taking deep breaths, a January post from Harvard Medical School recommends.

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