Just more than a third of employees whose employers include a wellness program in their benefits package participate in some aspect of the plan at least once a week. And 44 percent who have access to a plan say they continued participating in it for at least a year.

This information comes from a HealthMine survey of 806 workers whose employers offer them a wellness plan as a benefit. The results suggest that either employers aren't following through by driving engagement, or the programs themselves simply aren't rich enough to keep employees coming back for more. Programs that lack biofeedback elements are less engaging to those who participate, HealthMine said.

"In health care delivery today, more than ever, employers and payers must engage their members with health information that is personally relevant, clinically focused, and automatically available anytime, anywhere," said Bryce Williams, CEO of HealthMine. "Key is that it is personal information that it is tied to a person's clinical data, including biometrics. Clinical data tied to lifestyle management gives consumers real measurements to see if they are making progress. That is what sustains engagement and engages employees weekly."

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Dan Cook

Dan Cook is a journalist and communications consultant based in Portland, OR. During his journalism career he has been a reporter and editor for a variety of media companies, including American Lawyer Media, BusinessWeek, Newhouse Newspapers, Knight-Ridder, Time Inc., and Reuters. He specializes in health care and insurance related coverage for BenefitsPRO.