A recent Gallup poll found that American workers who are engaged in their work and workplace are more likely to report a healthier lifestyle than their counterparts who are not engaged or who are actively disengaged.

In the study published earlier this year, Gallup, the global consulting group famous for its political polling, found that engaged employees eat healthier, exercise more frequently, and consume more fruits and vegetables.

The results, based on telephone interviews with a random sample of 353,563 adults living in all 50 U.S. states, found that 54 percent of engaged employees exercise at least 30 minutes a day, three days a week vs. 45 percent of actively disengaged employees. The study also found that 47 percent of engaged employees eat five servings of fruits or vegetables five days a week vs. 41 percent for actively disengaged employees.

Gallup’s employee engagement index is on actionable workplace elements with linkages to performance outcomes, including productivity, customer service, quality, retention, safety, and profit. According to Gallup’s definitions, engaged employees are deeply involved in and enthusiastic about their work. Those who are not engaged may be satisfied, but are not emotionally connected to their workplaces and are less likely to put in discretionary effort. Employees who are actively disengaged are emotionally disconnected from their work and workplace and jeopardize their teams’ performance.

Gallup’s research previously found that employee engagement is positively correlated with better health — engaged workers are less likely to be obese and to have chronic diseases.

Here’s the part we found most interesting. Separate Gallup research found that engaged employees were 21 percent more likely than actively disengaged employees to be involved in wellness programs offered by their company. According to Gallup, this finding is consistent across age, BMI groups (normal, overweight, and obese), and among people with or without chronic diseases.

Since engaged employees are more likely to lead a healthy lifestyle, as Gallup points out, workplaces that actively improve engagement may end up seeing an added benefit of better employee health — the potential benefits of which include reducing healthcare costs for a company in the long term and increasing energy and productivity in the near future.

That all ties into everything we do here at Marathon Health. We are engagement specialists and come into this equation from the other side of the spectrum. We provide a holistic approach to an employee’s health and well-being. We inspire employees to lead healthier and more productive lives, which makes them more engaged by Gallup’s definition in the long run.


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