Fortune

CORPORATE WELLNESS PROGRAMS: HEALTHY … OR HOKEY?

COMPANIES SPEND BILLIONS OF DOLLARS GETTING EMPLOYEES TO DO EVERYTHING FROM LOSE WEIGHT TO PRACTICE MINDFULNESS—BUT DOES IT REALLY MAKE WORKERS MUCH HEALTHIER?

• DEXTER SHURNEY, chief medical director at Cummins, an Indiana-based engine company, was hired to reinvent the wheel.

He joined the company in 2013 after being approached by CEO Tom Linebarger with a puzzle and the desire to try something new. For years Cummins had preached the gospel of “wellness” to its 55,000 employees. Workers were encouraged to complete health risk assessments and undergo biometric screenings; they could rack up points and earn discounts on their insurance premiums by logging physical activity and attending health-related lunches. There was just one problem. It didn’t seem to make a difference.

Year after year, Cummins’s health care costs continued to rise. So did the prevalence of disease at the company. Its largely Midwestern workforce suffered from

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