Star Wellness Urges Employers to Attack Heart Disease in February
Corporate Wellness Provider Offers Tips on Ways Businesses Can Help Employees Battle Leading Killer
February 05, 2014 // Franchising.com // DALLAS – February is when hearts take center stage. And that should be especially true for employers, according to Johnette van Eeden, CEO of Star Wellness USA, the Dallas/Fort Worth-based franchise that provides healthcare screening and monitoring services for more than 200 businesses, local governments and organizations in more than 20 states.
With Heart Health month comes a reminder that medical conditions related to heart disease and stroke cost businesses billions of dollars each year in absenteeism and increased healthcare costs. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than one million Americans suffer a heart attack each year and one in every three deaths is related to stroke or heart disease.
"The good news is that there are simple steps employers can take to help employees decrease their chance of heart disease," van Eeden said.
Among those steps are:
- Say "No" to cigarettes. Smoking is the most preventable cause of coronary artery disease. The CDC reports that almost 20 percent of heart disease deaths are caused by smoking cigarettes. Employees that smoke have a two to four times higher chance of heart disease, and the longer a person smokes the greater the risk. Incentives and programs that help employees quit smoking will pay off for both the employees and their companies.
- Encourage healthy eating habits. Health problems such as diabetes that are the results of excessive weight gain can contribute significantly to increased risk of heart disease. Incorporating healthy eating tips and incentives into a wellness program is an effective way to promote weight management and decrease the risk of heart disease. In an era when many restaurants are creating "portion distortion" by serving up increasingly large helpings of food, a good first step is to make sure employees understand how to determine an appropriate portion size for their meals.
- Promote regular exercise. Weekly routines that include at least 60 minutes of activity three days a week can have a significant impact on employees’ heart health. Regular exercise also has been proven to help reduce stress, another factor that can lead to heart disease. Organizing group activities is even better because employees are able to hold each other accountable and are more likely to maintain the activity on a regular basis.
"The key to controlling heart disease is early detection, because many employees do not realize they are at risk until they start experiencing symptoms," van Eeden said. "Screening has become much more sophisticated thanks to advances in imaging technology and blood testing that offers more accurate assessments than methods of even a few years ago."
She recommends that every wellness program include regular screenings of all risk factors for Metabolic Syndrome at a minimum, with additional testing such as Hemoglobin A1c, The VAP Test, TSH, Homocysteine, and/or C-reactive protein as appropriate.
About Star Wellness
More information on services provided by Star Wellness as well as franchise opportunities can be found at StarWellnessUSA.com or by calling 800-685-5572.