Section 206. The department shall establish a program to reduce the incidence among the general public of mortality and morbidity from accidents and diseases for which risk factors can be identified. Such risk factors shall include, but not be limited to emotional stress, lack of exercise, poor nutrition and diet, abuse of alcohol and other drugs, smoking, and exposure to toxic substances. Such diseases shall include, but not be limited to, heart disease, lung disease, cancer and stroke. The program shall educate and screen the general public and particular groups of the general public at risk with respect to particular diseases or accidents. The department shall encourage the development of programs for fitness and behavior changes, including dietary change and smoking cessation. The department, with the cooperation of the personnel administrator and the commissioner of public employee retirement, shall develop, implement, coordinate and monitor fitness and behavior change programs, to be known as wellness programs, for public employees. Such programs shall make use of existing resources, facilities and programs whenever possible; and shall provide for access to any such programs, resources and facilities at no cost to such employees.
The department shall promulgate minimum requirements for wellness programs. Such minimum requirements may vary according to the classification of the employees whom a program is to serve. Wellness programs may be phased in over a period of years, but shall be implemented first for police officers and firefighters to whom section sixty-one A of chapter thirty-one applies and next for employees to whom paragraph (e) of subdivision (3) of section five of chapter thirty-two applies. Minimum requirements for wellness programs for employees to whom said section sixty-one A and said paragraph (e) apply shall be designed to enable such employees to meet the respective health and physical fitness standards of said section sixty-one A and said paragraph (e).