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Best practices in developing a physical well-being strategic plan

How to use this playbook

Physical well-being is an essential piece of any organization’s well-being strategy. However, not every organization has the bandwidth to track down reliable best practices to implement their own strategy. That’s why we created this playbook.


The Physical Well-Being Playbook is a self-service tool to guide the physical health dimension of your well-being strategy. You’ll find tips for developing a business case for your program, followed by a four-step process to put it into action. Each of the four steps includes an aggregate of online resources for both employers and employees.

Developing the business case for physical well-being

Physical well-being encompasses many different areas including, but not limited to, physical activity, nutrition, prevention, and chronic condition/disease management. Helping employees address their physical well-being is an important part of a sustainable organizational well-being strategy. When this area of health is improved, employees tend to be happier, more engaged, and more productive. Use the prompts below to identify why, what, and how to build a strategy that supports the organization’s business priorities.

Why focus on physical well-being?

Potential strategy drivers

  • Poor nutrition contributes to $50 billion per year in healthcare costs according to an NHLBI-funded study.
  • The CDC reports that only 25% of American adults achieve the recommended physical activity.  
  • Low physical activity levels cost an estimated $117 billion per year with much of that cost related to untreated heart disease, type 2 diabetes, certain cancers, and obesity, according to the CDC.   
  • An estimated 1.7 billion people have a musculoskeletal condition and these conditions are the largest contributor to years lived with disability. 
  • More than 34 million Americans have diabetes and an additional 88 million have prediabetes,  with the cost of healthcare for those with diabetes being 2.3 times greater than someone without.  
  • Only 8% of Americans complete routine preventive screenings.

What opportunities exist to support the physical well-being of employees?

Potential opportunities

  • Create a culture that promotes employees’ physical health.
  • Utilize claims and carrier data to identify areas of risk, areas of opportunity, and to understand preventive care utilization. 
  • Consider your industry type to create customized strategies beneficial to the employee population.  
  • Review workers’ compensation, disability, and safety reports to identify common musculoskeletal conditions.
  • Include policies that promote physical health like paid time off for preventive exams, onsite fitness opportunities and/or reimbursements, tobacco-free workplace, and flexible work schedules.

How will physical well-being be improved?

Potential tactics to improve physical well-being

  • Develop your organization’s physical well-being goals and create a strategic plan.
  • Provide education, interventions, and activities that promote physical health and well-being.
  • Offer opportunities for employees to be more physically active at work and encourage employees to use those opportunities.

Additional considerations

  • Develop a program budget
  • Gain leadership support
  • Designate a program manager
  • Create a project timeline

Physical well-being playbook steps

Physical well-being playbook contributors

Please contact Sarah Shanahan or Amanda-Rae Garcia with questions about the physical well-being playbook.
  • Chantel Almkvist
  • Jessica Brown
  • Georganne Dutton
  • Kelsey Heeran