You’ve decided to incorporate an employee wellness program into your business, but you’re not sure where to begin. A health risk assessment (HRA) is a good place to start. An HRA is an effective tool for understanding the health status and health risks of a person or group. It is a health questionnaire that typically captures information, such as:
- Demographic information (age, sex, gender, ethnicity, etc.)
- Physiologic information (height, weight, etc.)
- Personal and family medical history
- Lifestyle habits (exercise, smoking, diet, alcohol consumption, etc.)
An HRA typically scores respondents in different areas (e.g. on a scale from 1 to 100), highlights areas in which they are doing well, as well as areas for improvement. An HRA might ask questions such as, “How many times per week do you exercise?” or, “How many servings of fruit do you eat per day?” to help assess a person’s habits.
Importantly, a health risk assessment helps estimate a person’s attitudes and willingness to change their behaviors, which can help employers create incentive programs that encourage employees to make choices that benefit their health.
Benefits of Conducting a Health Risk Assessment
HRAs can be eye-opening for employees, as they provide snapshots of health status and areas for improvement. HRAs conducted periodically help employees see their progress over time, which often further encourages healthy lifestyle choices. For employers, HRAs provide important information about the health and attitudes of employees that can aid in the implementation of effective employee wellness and incentive programs.
Employers can play an active role in the health of their employees. Year-by-year, it is becoming clearer that environment matters, both at home and at work. The typical full-time employee in America spends a minimum of 40 hours a week at work, during which time healthier choices can make a big difference. Health risk assessments are an excellent starting point and an effective part of a comprehensive employee wellness program.