News release: New study shows SHIP boosting Minnesota employers’ workplace wellness efforts

News Release
June 24, 2019

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New study shows SHIP boosting Minnesota employers’ workplace wellness efforts

Employers participating in Minnesota’s Statewide Health Improvement Partnership (SHIP) overwhelmingly reported positive changes in healthy eating and physical activity among their employees, according to a new study conducted by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH). These findings are encouraging for employers looking to improve workers’ health and productivity and to reduce health care costs down the road.

According to the study, 73 percent observed improvements in healthy food and beverages consumed by employees, and 67 percent noticed increases in physical activity. The study evaluated the impact of workplace wellness efforts, including strategies to support breastfeeding mothers and help employees quit smoking, eat healthier and be more physically active.

Employers credited SHIP, with 92 percent of workplaces indicating that their organization’s wellness goals have advanced due to SHIP. Because most adults spend half of their day at work, workplaces play a key role in helping people reach their health goals. In 2018, more than 800 SHIP workplaces made changes to promote a healthier work culture for 86,000 employees.

Employers are strengthening wellness efforts through SHIP, according to the study. Since participating in SHIP, the number of Minnesota employers adding healthy food options at company functions tripled and those adding breastfeeding rooms for nursing mothers more than doubled. Data also show the longer a workplace is involved with SHIP, the more wellness strategies it is likely to have in place.

“Healthy, motivated employees are important to a workplace and to a company’s bottom line,” said Minnesota Commissioner of Health Jan Malcolm. “SHIP workplace wellness initiatives can help create an environment that encourages employees to practice healthy behaviors, which reduces their risk for chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke, cancer and diabetes.”

SHIP, a collaboration between MDH and the state’s local public health departments, works to create healthier communities. SHIP workplaces join a multi-employer collaborative process that provides employers the opportunity to learn about best practices in workplace wellness from local public health staff and each other.

As part of the study, employers participating in SHIP for at least a year completed a survey that asked about an organization’s wellness goals; the healthy eating, active living and tobacco-free living strategies implemented through SHIP; how leadership supports wellness initiatives; and perceived behavior change of employees since participating in SHIP.

The evaluation study used two data sources: 2018 Wellness Coordinator Survey, which include nearly 200 SHIP employers, and the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota Healthy Workplaces Organizational Assessments, which include 153 employers’ baseline and follow-up assessments.

Learn more about the SHIP workplace wellness report.


Media inquiries:

Doug Schultz 
MDH Communications