Articles such as this Forbes piece on wellness programs always remind me of a "scandal" I witnessed in the early 1980s. A municipal government allocated self-development money for middle managers and executives. Each person had a set amount that could be spent for management seminars, classes, subscriptions and, horror of horrors, gym memberships.
The reasoning behind the latter was that it is cheaper to prevent a heart attack than to pay for one and, in general, fit employees perform better than ones who are below par. Once the news media learned that city bureaucrats could use city money for membership at the YMCA, however, all hell broke loose. There were huffy declarations that taxpayer money was being squandered. City management quickly retreated and the membership reimbursement option was dropped.
The criticism was not without merit and yet the program also had its logic. Many components of wellness programs can be dismissed as matters that should be handled by the individual, but an employer that is trying to reduce health care costs - and stress, I might add - may regard ways to encourage fitness as far from irresponsible.