National Wellness Survey shows Atlantic province employers are most likely to
offer Worksite Wellness Initiatives

- October 5 to November 1, 2009 is Healthy Workplace Month in Canada -

TORONTO, Sept. 30 /CNW/ - The 2009 National Wellness Survey conducted by Buffett & Company Worksite Wellness Inc. reveals that Atlantic Provinces demonstrate the highest percentage of respondents offering wellness initiatives (96.6 per cent).

Employees are an organization's most valuable asset, and their health and well-being is particularly important during a slowdown in the economy when work and home stress often increase. Ninety-six per cent of Atlantic province organizations surveyed are offering at least one wellness initiative.

"Wellness programs are even more important during difficult economic times like the one Canada is currently experiencing and clearly organizations located in Atlantic Canada understand this," says Ed Buffett, President & CEO of Buffett & Company. "Research indicates that even employees who keep their jobs are under increased stress, which has a significant impact on their health and the health of the organization."

It is also interesting to note that the health risks affecting employees in Atlantic provinces presented some very different results as compared to the rest of the country. While the top health risk in Atlantic Provinces, work-related stress, was consistent with national results, it is a concern to a much lesser extent (58.9 per cent vs. 71 per cent). Also, the health risk concerns obesity, poor nutrition and smoking are identified to a greater degree in this region of the country. Specifically:

    -   In Atlantic Canada, obesity tied as the second ranked health concern
        with 57.1 per cent of respondents indicating it as an issue. Obesity
        was ranked as the number seven concern nationally with 39 per cent of
        respondents indicating this is a health risk.
    -   Smoking was identified as the third highest health risk concern (53.6
        per cent) by Atlantic province organizations. Smoking was ranked
        fifth nationally with 42.4 per cent of organizations indicating it is
        a health concern.
    -   Poor nutrition was ranked as the fifth highest health concern (46.4
        per cent) in Atlantic Canada. Nationally, poor nutrition was ranked
        tenth (31.2 per cent), a substantial difference of 15 per cent.

Despite these results, and the fact that this region has the highest percentage of employers among all regions offering wellness initiatives, the programs offered by employers do not target the most prevalent health risks.

"Results of the survey are encouraging, particularly in Atlantic Canada, but frankly it is still only a minority of organizations that are offering strategic, robust wellness programming," adds Buffett.

While any wellness initiative offering is a good start, only organizations that are strategic about their offerings will experience the common benefits of worksite wellness programming - an increase in employee health and morale and a decrease in absenteeism and presenteeism.

"Wellness initiatives are challenging and complex to manage, so those that are not properly managed will likely not generate their anticipated benefits," says Dr. Catherine Connelly, Associate Professor, McMaster University.

About Buffett & Company's National Wellness Survey Report 2009:

The 2009 survey report, sponsored by Pfizer Inc. and Sun Life Financial, is an analysis of the status of worksite wellness and health promotion in Canada. The survey has been conducted every three years since 1997. In 2009, approximately 4,738 surveys were forwarded to various organizations. Complete responses were received from 634 organizations, for a statistically significant response rate of 13.4 per cent.

The survey report is being released in conjunction with Canada's Healthy Workplace month (October 5 to November 1, 2009) which is a celebration of workplace health in Canadian organizations.

About Buffett & Company Worksite Wellness Inc.

Buffett & Company Worksite Wellness Inc. is a leading Canadian consulting firm that specializes in worksite wellness and health promotion. Located in Whitby, Ontario, Buffett & Company has a network of professional associates throughout the country. Clients include major private sector corporations, large, medium, and small-sized public sector employers, unions and not-for-profits. Buffett & Company is the only organization in the worksite wellness industry to win the National Quality Institute's Award of Excellence - the Healthy Workplace Trophy.


For further information: For further information: Sarah Cook,, Tel: (905) 666-1347 ext. 224, Toll Free: 1-800-483-7567, Cell: (905) 409-3724

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