If you are like most workers you work a nine to five type of job. That is at least 40% of your waking hours at the worksite. Since you invest so much time in your career, wouldn’t it be great if some of that time not only benefited your employer, but also your health?
Before we understand how important it is to create a heart-healthy workplace, we need to face the facts. Heart disease, stroke, heart rhythm disorders, peripheral artery disease, heart failure, and others are the leading causes of death and disability in the United States. The American Heart Association estimates that up to 30% of medical costs paid by businesses each year are spent on employees with risk factors for cardiovascular disease such as cigarette smoking, excess weight, physical inactivity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes. Let’s take a closer look at home:
- Heart disease was the leading cause of death for Ohio residents in 2004-2006
- 27.6% of Ohio adult residents reported having high blood pressure
- In Ohio, 36.2% of adults are overweight and 26.5% are obese
- In Ohio 37.9% of adult residents have been told by their doctor that they have high cholesterol
Creating a heart-healthy workplace will not only help the company’s return on investment but wellness programs will help the employees get healthy and stay healthy. A heart-healthy program does not need to be complex or expensive. Here are some tips for employers to start a healthy work environment.
- Information to employees: Newsletters, healthy email tips
- Health policies: no tobacco use
- Healthy eating habits: change vending machines, offer nutrition information, adding more fruits and vegetables to the cafeteria
- Exercise: walking paths, on-site fitness programs, encourage fitness during breaks
- Offer health screenings
There is not a one-size-fits-all approach but the efforts should focus on: smoking cessation, increasing physical activity, reducing stress, healthy eating, weight management, and education. There are many ways to incorporate a heart-healthy work environment and many models to follow. If your company doesn’t have a program, create one that fits your needs. The Rite Bite can help!