New York (PRWEB) -- Improving productivity by keeping employees healthy and working is emerging as the top business objective for employer-sponsored wellness programs around the world. The two exceptions are the United States, where reducing health care cost increases overwhelmingly continues to be the top goal, and Asia, where the most important objective is improving workforce morale.

These are among the latest trends identified by Buck Consultants' third annual global wellness survey, "WORKING WELL: A Global Survey of Health Promotion and Workplace Wellness Strategies," released today. The survey analyzed responses from more than 1,100 organizations representing 10 million employees in 45 countries.

"The heightened global focus on improving productivity is a significant trend," said Barry Hall, a Buck principal who directed the survey. "Business leaders around the world are increasingly recognizing the financial value of healthier workers and the need to better engage employees in reducing their health risks."

Stress is consistently cited as the top health risk driving wellness programs in all areas of the world, except for the United States and Latin America, where lack of exercise and poor nutrition are of top concern.

"Employers in the United States and Latin America seem to lag behind the rest of the world in addressing stress and its related conditions such as depression, anxiety, and fatigue," said Hall. "These are among the most significant drivers of productivity loss and absenteeism, as well as increased health care costs."

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