Numbers now show that worksite wellness programs implemented by Nebraska businesses are improving the quality of health for many working Nebraskans. Thirty-eight large and small companies across the state were the first to receive the Governor's Excellence in Wellness Award in 2008 for their accomplishments in worksite wellness by demonstrating significant improvement in employee health status. Among award winners addressing physical inactivity, employees reported an 18% increase in activity level and an almost 12% decrease in employees who were overweight or obese. Dr. Joann Schaefer, Chief Medical Officer of the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, said, "Workplace wellness programs have had a positive impact on employee health in Nebraska. Employers who help workers be more active and make better nutritional choices see the results in a workforce with fewer serious health issues, improved attendance and greater enthusiasm about their work. The long-term benefit of increasing quality of life is the best outcome and we hope the success of others will inspire other Nebraska employers to get involved in promoting their own workplace wellness program." According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, each year businesses lose millions of dollars in productivity and costs associated with medical care and workers compensation. Nebraska's workplace wellness program encourages companies and organizations of all types and sizes to take steps to help employees improve their health and fitness. Resources are available to help offices interested in developing a wellness program. The Governor's Excellence in Wellness Award is an annual opportunity for businesses to be recognized for their efforts in employee health and wellness. Six new businesses have applied to participate in the program in 2009. Awards will be presented in October.