Benefits & Compensation News

Wellness keys for healthy dependents

In the battle to  establish wellness programs, many employers overlook the need to address employees’ dependents.

That’s especially true for managing the health of employees’ adolescent children. Most of the attention goes to pre-natal and early childhood care. But a host of serious medical issues typically emerge during teenage years.

Physical issues

It’s every bit as important for employees’ adolescent dependents to undergo complete health assessments as it is for employees’ themselves. This is especially true for weight management issues.

There has been an epidemic rise in overweight and obese adolescents, which can contribute to (or worsen) a variety of physical and/or behavioral health problems.

Remember: These issues can create large-scale direct costs (treatments for the teenager) and indirect costs (absenteeism and/or presenteeism by the parent(s) who work for you). Other crucial factors:

  • immunizations (shots or vaccines) to reduce the risk of getting diseases such as hepatitis, meningitis, tetanus and mumps
  • preventive health counseling and age-appropriate health information (e.g., drug and alcohol abuse, sexually transmitted diseases)
  • vision and hearing tests, and
  • blood-pressure screening (especially if there’s a family history of high blood pressure).

Psychological issues

Regular physician visits provide an opportunity to discuss emotional changes and other challenges that most adolescents experience. In some cases, it’s also a front-line means of referring teenagers-in-need to behavioral counseling.

Remember: Proactive care greatly reduces the risk of a host of chronic and debilitating conditions. It can even be a life-safer in extreme cases.

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