Commentary: The closer you look, the lower the return on investment for wellness programs. That’s the take-home message from a thorough, scientific review published by the American Journal of Health Promotion (June 2014). 

High quality studies calculated benefits nearly 90% lower than low-quality studies. The 18 studies that qualified as “high-quality” had an average ROI of 0.26, compared to 2.32 from 27 low-quality studies. The authors applied strict criteria on design and methods to 51 studies and 61 interventions. They had more than a quarter million people who participated in interventions and 122,000 who did not (“controls”). Nine industries in 12 countries were represented. This was no small undertaking.

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