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Joel B. Bennett, president of Organizational Wellness & Learning Systems, a Fort Worth, Texas-based workplace wellness consulting company, says there are three basic strategies for small businesses launching a wellness program.

Low-cost resources

  • Surf the Internet for free and low-cost health and wellness resources. Try government sites like the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute ( and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (

  • Ask local restaurants to supply menus identifying healthy choices and share copies with your employees.

  • Tie charitable fundraisers to events that require exercise, "so you're doing little things that start to create a culture of health and wellness."

    Bring the boss on board

  • A small business owner is the model for his or her employees. An owner who smokes must quit; an owner who drinks excessively or eats poorly must change health habits if he or she expects employees to do the same.

    Work with other businesses

  • Create a small business network of owners who share your interest in employee wellness. Ask a local business association, chamber of commerce or Rotary chapter to sponsor a daylong event. Invite your insurers to attend. And devise a program that will benefit your business and the community.