172435 Healthy Babies, Healthy Business: A Worksite Health Education Program

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Stephen Abelman, MBA , Education and Health Promotion, March of Dimes, White Plains, NY
Janis Biermann, MS , Education and Health Promotion, March of Dimes, White Plains, NY
Background: Approximately one-half of births in United States occur to women in the workforce. In 2006, there were over 500,000 babies born prematurely, before 37 completed weeks of gestation. Prematurity is a major factor in neonatal death and infant illness such as cerebral palsy. The infant cost to employers for a preterm birth alone is approximately $41,610 vs. $2,830 for an uncomplicated full term birth. There are 14 risk factors such as hazardous substances, environmental stress, and smoking that if modified by women before or early in pregnancy, could improve outcomes.

Solution/Tool: The March of Dimes has created Healthy Babies, Healthy Business, a FREE health education program for employers. The program is comprised of six components (an intranet-based preconception/prenatal content for employees; English and Spanish language Web content; email access to health information specialists; bilingual printed materials; support for parents of preemies; and bereavement support). The information in the program, such as exposure to hazardous substances, can help employees make better decisions about their health and health care. By encouraging women to use these resources, employers can also promote their own resources such as smoking cessation to address these risk factors and reduce their overall health care costs. This would encourage employees to avoid risky behaviors and thus reduce their overall health care costs as well as those associated with premature births or any negative pregnancy outcome.

Results: To date (2/08), the program has been placed over 60 companies. Additional results and evaluation will be presented at the meeting.

Learning Objectives:
Participants will: Learn about some workplace risks that impact birth outcomes Understand the costs of negative birth outcomes to employers Learn about a program that integrates web-based education for women in the workplace interested in preconception and/or prenatal health care

Keywords: Occupational Health Programs, Health Education Strategies

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Direct the Worksite Wellness Program called "Healthy Babies, Healthy Business" targeted to all organizations that have women of childbearing age as employees.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.