By Dr. Sandra Stratford
Chief Medical Officer, Raytheon

As the Chief Medical Officer for a Fortune 500 company, I believe there are many reasons to focus on the health and well-being of our employees. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration states that more than 30 percent of the current U.S. workforce age 51 to 64 have more than one chronic disease. And by 2020, employees age 55 and over will more than double in the workplace.

With modern technology keeping employees more connected to the workplace, companies must make a concerted effort to combat preventable chronic diseases. We have a growing responsibility to ensure that our employees are fit to not only perform their jobs effectively in the face of increasing work demands, but to also lead healthy productive lives outside of the office.

Raytheon is helping employees improve their health and wellness efforts through a companywide program entitled Mission:Health. Mission:Health offers comprehensive programs, services and resources for employees and their families to encourage them to adopt and maintain healthy lifestyles. We foster a culture that promotes employee health through establishing fitness programs and challenges, promoting healthy eating choices, providing on-site preventive health screenings, and covering preventive care at 100 percent.

Raytheon also instituted an annual Healthy Worksite award which measures and recognizes locations that actively engage in supporting employee health and make wellness a priority. Today, approximately 55,000 of our employees work at a Healthy Worksite facility.

We continuously work to develop new ways to increase employee participation in our health and wellness programs. This year, Raytheon introduced its first financial incentive for completing an on-site screening and our online health risk assessment to help employees identify potential issues and practices to improve their lifestyles. We are also piloting virtual nutrition counseling with our registered dietician.

What does the future hold for our wellness initiatives? We can be sure that as our business expands globally, our wellness programs will follow.