Personal health isn’t the fist thing a person correlates to economic well-being, but the correlation is more significant than you might think…
submitted by Tori Lutz
Though health and wellness may not be something you automatically connect to economic topics like consumer spending and work ethic, there is actually a pretty significant correlation between them.
Maintaining a standard of health and wellness both for employees of a larger organization and for the public as a whole is critical in maintaining healthy spending habits and an economy that is centered around healthcare needs and costs.
To make the connection a little more obvious, here are the main ways in which personal health impacts consumer spending and work ethic.
Health and the Workplace
Aside from providing standard benefits like health insurance, many companies don’t personally invest in the health of their employees since it seems like more of a personal matter than one that involves the work they do.
This couldn’t be further from the truth, however, as a healthier workforce will always be a more productive workforce. In fact, according to the Institute of Medicine, indirect costs (related to productivity and impact on the nation’s economic output) can be upwards of $1 trillion per year.
Not only is this something that impacts individual companies who should invest in the health of their employees, it also impacts the economy as a whole, coming right back around and putting hardships on any industry.
By ensuring that the employees of a company or organization are healthy and able to be as productive as possible, it more than pays for itself and will result in better work ethic and overall output.
Health and Consumer Spending
On the other end of the spectrum, health is still impacting the economy through consumer spending.
Unless you are a company in the healthcare industry, money spent on health-related costs means money that likely will not be spent on your venture’s products and services. To think of it at the individual level, you will likely cut back on excessive spending if you have to pay copays, stock up on over-the-counter remedies and worry about other higher healthcare costs, especially if you have to handle costs that exceed your insurance premiums.
When the out-of-pocket responsibility exceeds an occasional need for cough syrup, consumers will also accrue debt and be further unable to keep up with their regular spending habits, thoroughly shifting their focus and concerns whenever they receive their paycheck.
For many individuals, these bills may not be avoidable. It’s hard to control a cancer diagnosis or a car accident, so there is only so much that can be done by providing a healthy environment.
That said, promoting healthy lifestyles helps to prevent any illnesses or injury that may be avoidable. For instance, since many diseases can be linked back to stress or poor lifestyle habits, they can often be avoided if an individual is in an environment that prioritizes their well-being and are able to take control of their own health.
In other words, time for rest, exercise and regular doctor’s visits may not keep people out of the hospital forever, but it will absolutely decrease their risk and make it much easier for them to put money into other areas of the economy when they receive their paycheck.
Wellness Beyond Basic Needs
All of this said, health and wellness goes beyond simply making sure people aren’t stressing themselves out to the point of a heart attack or failing to see a dentist before their teeth fall out.
Basic health is, of course, the most important thing to tend to. But what about beyond that? Being in healthy shape and feeling good in your body can mean more than simply the absence of illness, such as being at a happy and healthy weight, addressing dietary and lifestyle habits and taking some time to splurge a little on skincare or cosmetic treatments.
Dr. Sarah Bennett, a naturopathic physician in Scottsdale, Arizona, firmly believes in the importance of individual care and attention in regards to health:
“Everyone is different and that’s important regardless of what a patient comes in for. Everything in our body works together, so things like anxiety or fatigue could be an indication of bigger, more central concerns. I like to get patients to the next level of health and fulfillment because it makes it a lot easier for them to live their lives happily and to the fullest, whether that be through productivity at work or fun activities during leisure time.”
This doesn’t mean that people need to be seeking out botox to be healthy. It simply means that by taking some time to care for your body with an occasional massage or treatment to make yourself feel better can help to reset stress levels and keep the body happy and functioning well.
In fact, many companies will host retreats or even bring massage therapists in on occasion to promote this level of wellness and help to boost everyone’s stamina and happiness, ultimately contributing to their productivity.
When you think about the economy, topics like health and wellness are probably not the first to come to mind.
When you think about how health can impact both workers and consumers alike, though, it becomes clearer how the wellbeing of an individual can really impact the economy on a larger scale in the end.
And, of course, health and wellness goes beyond your flu shot. If everyone takes care of themselves and puts the work and energy into making their minds and bodies as healthy as possible, society will only grow and prosper as a result.
Katherine (Tori) Lutz
Freelance Writer, Editor & Social Media Strategist