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Stock - Up on Heart Healthy Foods!!

Keep your kitchen stocked with low-salt options, along with foods that are low in saturated fats, but rich in healthy unsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids, to promote a heart healthy diet!
The foods listed here are all “top-performers” in protecting your heart and blood vessels:

  • Fruits and vegetables. Choose a wide variety of different types and colors
  • Whole grains. These include whole-wheat breads and pastas, brown rice, whole-grain cereal, and oatmeal.
  • "Healthy" fats. Salmon and other fatty fish such as sardines, olive oil, avocado and nuts, provide omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Walnuts, flaxseed, and soybean oils. These are additional sources of omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Lean proteins. Include skinless poultry, lean cuts of beef, and beans.
  • Low-fat dairy. Include skim milk and low-fat cheese.

Here are some examples of some simple and easy to prepare heart healthy meal choices:
 

Baby Steps Work For Grown-Ups Too!

You are never too old, too out of shape or too overweight to make healthy changes. So why is it so difficult to make the healthy changes that can make us feel better and live longer? Usually people do not set very specific nor realistic goals for themselves resulting in frustration.


The most common lifestyle changes people say they’d like to make are usually losing weight, increasing exercise and making better food choices. Whatever the healthy goal, research suggests that several strategies can increase your chance of making the change a part of your daily lifestyle.

Telephonic Wellness Coaching’s “High Touch” Translates to Lower Costs to the Employer

An employer sponsored telephonic wellness coaching program has the potential to reach an entire employer population more than any other benefit program. Outreach can be a powerful tool in creating a culture of wellness. With information obtained from biometric screenings and health risk assessments, wellness coaches can contact participants to engage them in lifestyle coaching, disease management programs and also direct them to appropriate medical care. It can also serve as a means of steering patients to worksite clinics. 

 

Exercise is a Lifestyle!

2.5 hours a week or approximately 150 minutes a week is the optimum goal for exercising. Of course, many of us are just too busy and find excuses why we cannot exercise. More than a third of adults get less than the recommended amount of exercise per week and a quarter get no regular leisure time exercise at all according to the CDC. That puts them at risk for chronic diseases including diabetes, heart disease and premature death. Long periods of sitting at a computer or watching television also raise the risk of developing major diseases.

“It’s very clear that a little bit of exercise makes a big difference”, says Carol Ewing Garber, author of the American College of Sports Medicine’s new guidelines on quantity and quality of exercise for adults. “The message needs to be heard that doing less is also helpful.” Doing thirty minutes of exercise in a week is better than doing nothing.

Fat Bellies: Nothing Jolly About It!

Do you find yourself surprised when trying on your bathing suit for the summer? How about frustrated with the extra pounds you acquired this last winter? Aside from these cosmetic disappointments, belly fat poses a major risk to your health. Men must be especially vigilant since they are more likely to develop more fat around the waist. There is no single cause of belly fat. Genetics, diet, age, and lifestyle can all play a role.  Belly fat increases an individual’s risk of acquiring:  

Addressing Modifiable Health Risks can Enhance a Company’s Bottom Line

Wellness Coaching has been identified as a leading solution for cost savings and risk reduction to the employer. Not only can it impact long term gains for the employer, but it can create a resource for employees and spouses to learn strategies for changing lifestyle behaviors-further impacting their personal long term health and wellbeing. When wellness coaching is added to the benefit program, it offers an opportunity to touch a large group of the employer’s population, many times including the spouses.

A corporate sponsored wellness coaching program can create a culture of wellness. It can help individuals lower the risk of developing high dollar diseases. The ultimate goal is to reach “at risk” employees before they become a “claim” to the health plan. The wellness coach can take a holistic approach, rather than focusing upon a specific disease or illness.

Energy In – Energy Out

Food is fuel that affects our energy levels and supplies the nutrients so your body can perform its best. "Certain eating strategies will definitely help you ward off fatigue," says Stacey Whittle, RD, a registered dietitian at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.Chances are, you are already eating many of the foods best suited for daylong energy. It's simply a matter of eating them at the right time, in the right amounts, and in the right combinations."If you watch your portion size and take time for that midmorning and midafternoon snack, you'll be surprised at how positively your energy levels are affected," Whittle says.

 

Energy In…

Exercise Safely Outdoors

 “Go outside and play!”   Do you remember being told that when you were a child?  Well that still applies for adults today.  Summer is a great time to get off the couch and start moving.  Walking, swimming and biking are just a few of the inexpensive, healthy, and fun summer activities.  While these activities can be very beneficial to our health we must keep in mind the effects of increased temperatures along with the intensive sun. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends the following tips for safe summer fun:

 

Sponsoring a Corporate Wellness Program can Impact “at risk “Children

The habits and lifestyle choices we make for ourselves can also impact the health of our families. If individuals become aware of their own “at risk“ factors, they can start making their own lifestyle changes, thus impacting the health of the entire family. A corporate sponsored wellness program, which includes a biometric screening and wellness coaching, can be a major tool in informing and educating participants, which can also translate into healthier lifestyle choices for the entire family. The wellness coach can sit down with the entire family and discuss strategies for lifestyle changing. Engaging the children as well as the parents can be a powerful step in changing the behaviors of the family.

 

In a recent government funded study it was determined that 20% of young adults are likely to have high blood pressure. Diet, obesity, and sedentary lifestyles appear to be the key reasons, according to the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill researchers. They tested 14,000 people between the ages of 24 and 32 and found that one in five had high blood pressure (140/90 or higher).

 

Obesity Can be Fatal!

Obesity has been associated with numerous medical problems; however it has also been identified as a single strong factor in fatal cardiovascular disease. Inflammation appears to be a strong component in fatal cardiovascular disease, according to researchers, and obesity is now increasingly being recognized as an inflammatory condition.


“We already knew that being obese meant you had a higher chance of having a heart attack,” according to study researcher Jennifer Logue, MD, of the University of Glasgow, as reported by WebMD. “We also already knew that obese people were more likely to have high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and diabetes.”

Don’t leave out the Blood Pressure Check from Your Health Fair Screening

Because many times people are symptom free, they have no idea that they have high blood pressure.
Further, many people have no idea what their blood pressure is until it is measured. An employer does a disservice to his employees if he leaves out the blood pressure check from his biometric screening event. The health fair is an excellent opportunity to reach the most people in a single location. Because it is convenient, employees tend to have their blood pressure checked using either a cuff and gauge with a stethoscope or an automatic blood pressure machine.

 

It is amazing how many people we see at health fairs that have no idea what the blood pressure numbers mean and how they impact their risk for future disease. We often hear the phrase “I’m watching it!” Does this mean they are watching their numbers slowly creep up?

 

Normal Blood Pressure:

Systolic (top number) 120; diastolic (bottom number) less than 80

 

Lifestyle Choices Account for 87.5% of Healthcare Claim Costs

“Individual behavior is highly modifiable-and is responsible for the lion’s share of health status and associated costs. An individual’s lifestyle choices-smoking, nutrition, weight, exercise and stress management-are responsible for approximately 40% of one’s health status and 87.5% of healthcare claim costs. Clearly an opportunity exists to reduce healthcare spending by motivating healthier behaviors and lifestyle choices.” (S.A. Schroeder in the NE Journal of Medicine and the IPFW Study of 2006). 

Hold The Salt

Everyone — regardless of age or health — can benefit from keeping a watchful eye on salt intake.Too much salt can lead to many health conditions including high blood pressure, stroke, heart attack and kidney problems.


Our modern diet makes lack of sodium nearly impossible. On the contrary, many people eat about doublethe amount of sodium as they should eat. And when it comes to sodium, too much of a good thing is definitely not better.


According to the American Heart Association, 1,500 milligrams of sodium is the ideal daily goal for African-Americans, middle- and older-aged Americans, and people with high blood pressure. The rest should aim for less than 2,300 milligrams of sodium a day -- the equivalent of about 1 teaspoon of salt.


Here are some tips for “holding the salt”


• Take the saltshaker off the table, and try not to add salt to foods you prepare at home.
• When you’re comparing nutrition labels on products at the grocery store, make sure you check the sodium content.

Corporate Disease Management Programs Can Impact Claim Costs

A well managed Disease Management Program helps to reduce costs for the employer, because they eliminate unnecessary emergency room visits and reduce hospital admissions for these patients. Large claims are potentially avoided through proactive interventions. Some of the most common conditions that are managed within a Disease Management Program are: diabetes, high cholesterol, congestive heart failure, hypertension, asthma, depression and maternity.

Chronic Diseases Account for $3.00 out of every $4.00 spent on Healthcare

“More than 40% of Americans have one or more chronic conditions, and people with chronic diseases account for 75% of health spending in this country. About 58 million nonelderly adults have at least one chronic condition. About 60% of people with chronic disease are working-age adults,” according to a recent study published in Health Affairs.

Hypertension, diabetes and pulmonary conditions, such as asthma, are contributable to high dollar claims in an employer’s benefit plan. Many of these patients tend to be non-compliant: not taking prescribed medications, lack of adherence to doctor’s orders, and self denial (believing that I am not like the rest of the people that have this disease). Patients also tend to use lack of time or lack of financial resources as excuses not to take preventative measures to prevent future progression of their disease.

Do Health Risk Assessments Have Value?

Is a self reporting assessment tool too subjective? There have been a number of articles written lately about the validity of information obtained by having employees complete a health risk assessment (HRA). HRA’s are a “self-reporting” tool that employer groups use to analyze trends; they can be used to look at the health of a population. They can be seen as one tool that an employer uses to implement a comprehensive wellness program. HRA’s should not be the only piece of the program. Just offering an incentive to complete the HRA and stopping there doesn’t provide the employees with the necessary information to make lifestyle changes.

Annual Screenings Can Detect Cancerous Breast Cells Before They Spread

Breast Cancer is the most common cancer in women of all major racial and ethnic groups in the United States affecting one out of every eight women according to the National Cancer Institute. The American Cancer Society recommends monthly breast self exams, checking your own breast for any lumps or changes in the breast or underarm area. A clinical breast exam should be performed by your health care professional at your scheduled appointment annually, by your primary care physician or OB/Gyne physician.


Sometimes breast “cells” become abnormal and grow faster than normal healthy cells. These fast growing extra cells can forms clusters or masses known as tumors. Some tumors are considered “benign” or not cancer. Other tumors are”malignant” meaning they are cancerous and have the ability to spread or “metastasize” to other parts of the body.


A screening mammogram is used to detect breast changes in women who have no signs or symptoms or observable breast abnormalities. The goal of the screening mammogram is to detect breast cancer before any clinical signs are noticeable.

Companies with Wellness Coaching Programs Save Claim Dollars

Wellness coaching typically leads to 20% to 40% fewer surgeries, 20% to 30% fewer doctor visits and 20% to 30% fewer hospital admissions, according to Mary Jane Favazza, senior vice president of service delivery at Health Dialog.

That could represent significant cost savings for employers and patients. Wellness coaching is a high touch program that companies offer to their employees so that they can have an opportunity to work with a highly trained professional, usually a registered nurse certified wellness coach that can help them make lifestyle or behavioral changes. Most programs focus on weight management, nutrition, smoking cessation and stress management. A certified wellness coach offers strategies for sustainable lifestyle related behaviors. Additional professional resources may include dieticians, nutritionists and exercise physiologists. Educational materials and internet resources are also incorporated into the individualized program.

Drink more water – 1% dehydration reduces your metabolism

“Your metabolism is basically a series of chemical reactions that take place in your body,” says Trent Nessler, PT, DPT, MPT, managing director of Baptist Sports Medicine in Nashville. “Staying hydrated keeps those chemical reactions moving smoothly. Being even 1% dehydrated can cause a significant drop in metabolism”.

Most people don’t drink enough water during the course of an average day. They aren’t really aware of how much water they are drinking and most people aren’t drinking enough water. Dehydration is a very common problem, and you don’t even realize the impact.

Here are some tips from the experts for proper water consumption:

Health screening finds 43% of employees have undiagnosed medical conditions

Meritain Health recently compiled an assessment report aggregating the results of the screenings of 10,000 corporate employees.  The sample population was 52.6% female, 61.5% male and 61.5% over the age of 40.  The findings showed that:

 

  • 61.5% over the age of 40 are at risk for common conditions such as colon cancer, coronary artery disease and congestive heart failure
  • 42.9% had undiagnosed, untreated medical conditions
  • 37% were overweight ,which can lead to diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol
  • 44.3% had high cholesterol, which can lead to blocked arteries
  • 16.1% were diagnosed with newly discovered risk factors
  • 2.1% were diagnosed with serious medical conditions that required immediate medical attention