The Stock Performance of American Companies Investing in a Culture of Health

Ron Z. Goetzel, Raymond Fabius, Enid Chung Roemer, Karen B. Kent, Jeffrey Berko, Michael A. Head, Rachel Mosher Henke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Purpose: We investigated the relationship between companies’ efforts to build internal (COH-INT) and external cultures of health (COH-EXT) and their stock performance. Design: We administered 2 surveys, which measure companies’ programs, policies, and supports for improving the health of their employees and communities. We then compared the companies’ stock performance to the Standard and Poor’s (S&P) 500 Index from January 2013 through August 2017. Setting: United States. Participants: Representatives from 17 publicly traded companies who completed the COH-INT survey, of whom 14 also completed the COH-EXT. Measures: Culture of health scores were dichotomized into high versus low for both surveys. Stock price data for all companies were gathered from public sources. Analysis: We constructed 5 stock portfolios: all 17 companies, high COH-INT, low COH-INT, high COH-EXT, and low COH-EXT companies. We examined total returns for each portfolio compared to the S&P 500. Results: High COH-INT companies’ stock price appreciated by 115% compared to the S&P benchmark (+69%), while low COH-INT companies appreciated only 43%. In contrast, high COH-EXT companies underperformed (+44%) when compared to the S&P 500 (+69%) and low COH-EXT companies (+89%). Conclusion: This study supports the view that employers’ efforts to build an internal culture of health is a sound business strategy. More research is needed, however, to establish whether a link exists between supporting healthy community initiatives and company stock performance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)439-447
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Health Promotion
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2019


  • business case
  • community health
  • corporate social responsibility
  • culture of health
  • financial impact
  • stock price performance
  • workplace health promotion
  • workplace wellness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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