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Investing in Employee Digestive Wellness

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3 minute read

When striving for a productive and flourishing workforce, employers commonly prioritize traditional wellness initiatives geared towards physical fitness and mental health. However, one crucial yet often underestimated aspect is digestive health. A well-functioning digestive system not only enhances physical well-being but also influences mental fortitude and productivity.


What Are Digestive Health Benefits?

The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases reveals that a staggering 70 million Americans grapple with gastrointestinal (GI) issues. This includes diarrhea, constipation, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, irritable bowel syndrome, and gastroesophageal reflux disease.

Digestive health benefits encompass a range of initiatives and resources aimed at nurturing and promoting healthy digestive systems among employees. These initiatives include providing access to nutritious foods, offering educational programs on digestive wellness, extending stress management support, and providing resources to address digestive disorders. By prioritizing these benefits, employers can optimize their workforce's digestive function, leading to improved overall health and productivity.


Why Are These Benefits Important?

GI diseases, if untreated, can impact employees' personal life and work productivity. Gut health issues lead to absenteeism and presenteeism, costing employers significantly. According to health care contractor Accorded, GI issues are the fourth largest driver of employee-related health care costs, costing employers three to eight times more than a healthy adult.

In addition to managing GI conditions, digestive health benefits are crucial for employees for the following reasons:

  • Physical well-being - Optimal digestive health enhances overall physical health and reduces issues like bloating, gas, and indigestion that can affect daily life and work performance.
  • Mental well-being - Supporting digestive health can reduce stress, anxiety, and depression by influencing neurotransmitter production in the gut microbiome.
  • Employee productivity and performance - A healthy gut supports a strong immune system, reducing illness risk and improving work performance for employees, leading to higher productivity and lower absenteeism rates for employers.
  • Long-term health - Untreated chronic digestive issues can lead to more severe health issues like inflammatory bowel diseases, nutrient deficiencies, or cancers over time.

Supporting digestive health can improve employees' overall well-being, lower healthcare expenses, and create a healthier workforce.


Employer Considerations

Supporting digestive wellness initiatives allows employers to show care for employees' holistic health, leading to a happier, healthier, and more engaged workforce. Consider these strategies for digestive health:

  • Improve access to digestive care - Gastroenterologists are in high demand and short supply, leading to longer wait times and limited access to care. Employers can provide access to medical professionals, nutritionists, and wellness coaches for personalized support. Digestive health support can be integrated into employee assistance programs.
  • Promote healthy eating habits - Employees often struggle to prioritize healthy eating due to work and daily life demands. Employers can support healthier habits by providing access to nutritious food and beverages, as well as subsidizing healthy meal options in the workplace.
  • Reduce the stigma - Stigma and anxiety around digestive issues may deter employees from seeking treatment. Employers can promote gut health discussions, provide accommodations during flares, and encourage employees to prioritize their health.
  • Organize educational opportunities - Education is crucial for any workplace initiative. Employers can provide workshops and seminars to educate employees about digestive health and offer practical tips for a healthy gut.
  • Promote flexible work arrangements - Flexible work options can accommodate GI patients' needs, reducing stress and boosting satisfaction.



Investing in digestive health benefits not only enhances the physical well-being of employees but also boosts their mental strength and overall productivity. By emphasizing programs that promote digestive wellness, employers showcase their dedication to nurturing a vibrant and thriving workforce. Download the bulletin for more details.

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National Insurance Services is not a law firm and no opinion, suggestion, or recommendation of the firm or its employees shall constitute legal advice. Readers are advised to consult with their own attorney for a determination of their legal rights, responsibilities and liabilities, including the interpretation of any statute or regulation, or its application to the readers’ business activities.

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Valerie Ortiz

Valerie Ortiz

Over the past 20 years, Valerie Ortiz has worn many hats at National Insurance Services. She currently heads up NIS’ Marketing Team where she helps to create and execute employee benefit communications based upon our public sector clients’ needs. Valerie brings order to the chaos and has a zeal for detail and a talent for organization.