Monday, April 21, 2008

Health Promotion: Physical Activity

As a country, the citizens of the United States are sedentary (lazy). Less than half of us meet the minimum recommendation of 30 minutes of physical activity each day and our health is at risk. Being physically active every day is an important goal for all of us to achieve thus providing ample reason for Health Promotion activities to focus, in part, on physical activity.

How much physical activity do I need?

  • 30 minutes each day for overall health and to decrease risk for diseases like heart disease, cancer and diabetes
  • 60 minutes each day for managing body weight and preventing weight gain
  • 60 - 90 minutes each day for sustaining weight loss

How do I fit this much physical activity into my day?

Some people set aside time to work out at fitness centers, take classes or go on hikes or bike rides with friends and family. Others find ways to fit physical activity into their daily routines like:

  • Walking or biking to the bus stop or all the way to work
  • Walking at lunch time
  • Holding walking meetings
  • Walking or biking to run errands, go to the library, park, or visiting friends
  • Walking the dog
  • What works best for you?

Health Promotion: Ten Reasons For Physical Activity

  1. It’s one of the best things we can do for our health.
  2. It’s a stress-reducer.
  3. It burns calories!
  4. We’ll probably sleep better.
  5. It keeps our bones and joints in good shape if we don’t overdo it.
  6. We’re less likely to develop diabetes, heart disease or cancer.
  7. We’re less likely to gain unwanted weight.
  8. We may get sick less often.
  9. It can improve our mood and relieve symptoms of depression and anxiety.
  10. What is your best reason?

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Health Promotion

Health Promotion Gets a Thumbs UpHealth Promotion initiatives comes in many different forms, but the main purpose of health promotion is to encourage individuals to take preventive measures to avert the onset or worsening of an illness or disease and to adopt healthier lifestyles. Employers may utilize a wide range of health promotion initiatives, from onsite gyms to simple health promotion newsletters.
While some businesses have instituted very comprehensive health promotion programs, others have achieved savings or increased productivity with just a few simple health promotion activities. What’s most important is to get started. Having a plan, along with one or two health promotion activities, can serve as a foundation for building a more comprehensive program down the road.

Why Workplace Health Promotion?

Workplace health promotion is an investment in your most important asset, your employees. Studies have shown that employees are more likely to be on the job and performing well when they are in optimal physical and psychological health. Employees are also more likely to be attracted to, remain with, and value a company that values them. Health promotion in the workplace improves company productivity by:
  • Attracting the most talented workers;
  • Reducing absenteeism and lost time;
  • Improving on-the-job time utilization and decision making; and
  • Improving employee morale, which leads to a reduction in turnover.
In addition to improved productivity, health promotion programs have proven to be an effective tools in slowing the growth of health care costs. Choosing healthier alternatives may reduce an employee’s chances of suffering from disease. Less disease means employers can lower health plan use, thereby lowering health benefit costs, and in turn increasing the bottom line. While medical cost savings from health promotion programs may be less evident than productivity gains, studies show that medically high-risk employees are medically high-cost employees as they use more health care and generate higher claim costs.

Finally, by investing in worksite health promotion, employers will be helping America achieve its two major Healthy People 2010 worksite-specific objectives:
  • 75 percent of all employers, regardless of size, offering a comprehensive employee health promotion program; and
  • 75 percent of all employees participating in employer-sponsored health promotion activities