The Company Doctor

With carrots and sticks, employers prod their workers into better health--and lower premiums

In hand-to-hand combat, the American worker would lose to a band of sleepy preschoolers. Only 15% of workers exercise enough, and 40% don't attempt so much as a sit-up. More than half blame work, with 8 in 10 grousing that they would hit the treadmill--really they would--if only their employers encouraged it.

Be careful what you whine for. With health-care costs hobbling profits, more employers are saying to employees, Get healthy--or else. After all, insurance premiums and absenteeism by sick workers set businesses back $15 billion a year, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And yet 70% of health-care...

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