The wellness industry has been taking some hits as of late. Employer-sponsored wellness programs have been criticized for demoralizing workers and violating their privacy. And, perhaps most worrisome to corporate boards, a number of prominent critics have argued that wellness programs don't actually save companies money. 

Some wellness proponents, including HR officials at Bank of America and Southwest Airlines, have countered that the main goal of wellness programs is to develop happier, healthier and more productive employees, rather than to save money. 

But a group of researchers now claim to have conducted the first comprehensive study proving that wellness programs can produce a financial return on investment for employers. 

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