Kaiser Permanente’s employee workplace wellness activities have only been operating since 2010, but the effort is already returning real health gains.

From 2009 to 2012 among its estimated 200,000 employees, the health care company documented a 5 percent overall improvement in blood pressure levels, a 7 percent improvement in cholesterol levels, a 12 percent decrease in smoking, and a constant body mass index average even while the rest of the nation was getting heavier. Kathy Gerwig, MBA, vice president of employee safety, health and wellness at Kaiser Permanente, said the company’s ultimate goal is to have the “healthiest workforce in health care.”

“It’s about engaging with employees to learn more about what they want, what they think is critical,” Gerwig told The Nation’s Health. “It’s about taking a strategic approach that isn’t just about one particular element, but about looking at health holistically.”

Continue reading this story published in the October 2013 issue of The Nation’s Health newspaper.