August 2011

30 Aug 2011

Will a Wellness Program Make Your Company More Valuable?

There’s no nice way to say it.  We Americans are fat, and we get fatter every year.  According to the CDC; “About one-third of U.S. adults (33.8%) are obese.  Approximately 17% (or 12.5 million) of children and adolescents aged 2—19 years are obese.”

And it‘s getting worse.  The CDC predicts that one third of those born in 2000 will develop type two Diabetes, and some articles suggest that parents may possibly outlive their children.  

It’s a no brainer that a healthy employee is going to cost your company less than an employee that is likely to die in middle age due to cardiovascular disease and complications that come from obesity. 

The cost of healthcare premiums has doubled in the past ten years, according to the July 30th issue of The Economist. That makes it harder for your company to continue to offer healthcare.  But some companies have started to do more than “suggest” that their employees quit smoking, lean up, and adopt a healthier lifestyle.  Some companies have started to penalize the employees who don’t.  Many firms no longer allow smoking at their facilities.  In fact, The Economist cites GE Capital, who first offered their employees incentives for quitting smoking, and now, those who continue to smoke must pay an additional $650 for health insurance.

That’s where wellness programs excel.  Wellness professionals know how to build programs for your company that will inspire lasting change.  It’s one thing to lose 20 or more pounds, but to provide the education, information, and incentives to help your employee keep it off for a lifetime, quit smoking, and show their families how to do the same, is priceless on many levels.   

11 Aug 2011

Take a Stand for a Healthier, More Productive Workforce

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity and “muscle-strengthening activities on 2 or more days a week that work all major muscle groups” for adult Americans.

But, a story published by NPR in April of 2011 counters that even that amount of due diligence may not be nearly enough to undo the hours of sitting Americans do each day.  Epidemiologist Steven Blair of the University of South Carolina points out that even if an individual is meeting their exercise recommendations; they are still sleeping, and conceivably spending ten or so hours immobile at their desks, commuting, or in front of their televisions.

Blair points out that we are just beginning to understand the risks of sitting and immobility, according to a 2008 study.  The study claims that “men who reported more than 23 hours a week of sedentary activity had a 64 percent greater risk of dying from heart disease than those who reported less than 11 hours a week of sedentary activity. And many of these men routinely exercised.

Dr. Toni Yancey, author of Instant Recess; Building a Fit Nation 10 Minutes at a Time  was also cited in the NPR article as saying, “We just aren't really structured to be sitting for such long periods of time, and when we do that, our body just kind of goes into shutdown."

Wellness companies are now getting hip to the benefits of ergonomic science in the workplace for more than the original concerns of repetitive stress syndrome and injury prevention and starting to incorporate concepts such as “sit to stand” work stations in order to promote opportunities to move at least every hour or so, and hopefully more often than that.

Comprehensive corporate wellness programs are informed by the latest science.  Providing your employees with the best programs ever keeps your competitive edge strong and healthy.