Digestive Health | Gut check: Why employers should invest in employee digestive wellness

Last updated on June 6th, 2024

Digestive health is a critical aspect of overall wellbeing that significantly impacts work productivity and healthcare costs. With 70 million Americans suffering from gastrointestinal diseases, employers must recognize the importance of supporting their employees’ gut health. Addressing this often-overlooked health issue can lead to a healthier, more productive workforce and reduce significant healthcare expenses.

Overall, digestive conditions generate $140 billion in health care costs each year, more than heart disease, trauma and mental health.

Key Takeaways:

  1. Digestive health is a significant but often overlooked health issue that impacts employee wellbeing and work productivity.
  2. Gastrointestinal (GI) diseases affect 70 million Americans, resulting in substantial healthcare costs of $140 billion annually, more than heart disease, trauma, and mental health.
  3. Employees with digestive problems are more likely to suffer from mental health conditions such as anxiety, depression, and PTSD, leading to increased absenteeism and reduced productivity.
  4. Employers can improve their workforce’s health and reduce healthcare expenses by addressing gut health through comprehensive wellness initiatives and partnerships with innovative companies like Ayble.

Digestive Health Issues in the Workplace

Employers are increasingly recognizing the importance of employee wellbeing in driving productivity and overall success. However, one important health issue that is often overlooked is digestive health. A staggering 70 million Americans are living with gastrointestinal (GI) diseases, which can lead to serious impacts on a GI patient’s personal life, impacting work productivity and absenteeism.

The Cost of Digestive Health Issues

Managing gut health problems frequently necessitates ongoing medical attention, resulting in high utilization, and can be expensive. Digestive conditions generate $140 billion in healthcare costs each year, more than heart disease, trauma, and mental health. GI patients cost employers 3 to 8 times more than a healthy adult, and GI issues are the fourth largest driver of employee-related healthcare costs.

Impact on Employee Productivity and Cost of Absenteeism

As the gut is inextricably linked to the brain, employees with digestive problems experience diagnosed mental health conditions such as anxiety, depression, and PTSD at three times the rate of healthy adults. A significant percentage of patients, around 50-70%, have an additional mental health condition, which can lead to reduced focus and productivity at their workplace. Additionally, imbalances in gut health can cause GI issues to flare and exacerbate symptoms like hot flashes, mood swings, and weight gain in women during menopause.

Between absenteeism and presenteeism, employees with gut health issues miss or are less productive for at least 11 work days each month or a total of over 130 days each year. This impacts employers as they bear the cost of a sick, absent workforce.

Challenges in Accessing Effective Digestive Care

Employees often face significant challenges when attempting to access effective digestive care. One critical issue is the scarcity of healthcare professionals who specialize in GI diseases. Gastroenterologists, the specialists primarily responsible for diagnosing and treating these conditions, are in high demand and short supply in many regions. This shortage translates to longer wait times for appointments, delayed diagnoses, and limited access to expert care.

Addressing Digestive Health in the Workplace

These intersections underscore the importance of employers addressing gut health as part of their comprehensive wellness initiatives. By recognizing the impact of digestive health on employee wellbeing, productivity, and healthcare costs, employers can take proactive steps to support their employees in accessing effective digestive care. By partnering with innovative companies like Ayble, employers can help their employees take control of their gut health.

About Ayble

Ayble is an all-in-one digital health app that provides best-in-class dietary and psychological support for patients throughout their GI journey. Ayble is the first and only gastroenterology company independently evaluated by the Validation Institute. Ayble’s program is 2x more effective than in-person or virtual dietetics and drives 30-40% better adherence to recommendations. Learn more

Read Ayble Health Validation report HERE.

Frequently Asked Questions (By Validation Institute):

Why is digestive health important in the workplace?

Digestive health significantly impacts employee wellbeing, work productivity, and healthcare costs. Poor gut health can lead to serious gastrointestinal diseases, affecting an employee’s ability to work efficiently and increasing absenteeism.

How many Americans are affected by gastrointestinal diseases?

Approximately 70 million Americans are living with gastrointestinal (GI) diseases, which can lead to substantial personal and professional impacts, including high healthcare costs and decreased productivity.

What are the financial implications of digestive health issues for employers?

Digestive conditions generate $140 billion in healthcare costs annually. Employees with GI issues cost employers 3 to 8 times more than healthy adults and contribute to significant employee-related healthcare expenses.

How can employers address digestive health in the workplace?

Employers can improve gut health among their workforce by integrating comprehensive wellness initiatives and partnering with innovative companies like Ayble, which provides effective digestive care solutions and supports employees’ GI health.

Confident professional man in a lavender gingham shirt, arms crossed, smiling at the camera.

Sam Jactel

CEO, Founder Ayble Health

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Sign up for ValidPoints, the complimentary monthly newsletter that offers the latest updates on:

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The move toward high-performance and high-value healthcare

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In-depth analysis of the latest trends and solutions that improve heath outcomes, strengthen accountability, and cut costs

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Actionable insights on how to drive better health outcomes at a far lower cost for your organization.

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Profiles in innovative solutions and organizations that are “walking the walk” when it comes to delivering better savings, outcomes, and more