High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a chronic medical condition in which the artery walls are exposed to constant, steady pressure that causes the heart’s muscles to weaken. The disease affects nearly half of all American adults and is often one of the leading contributors to the following serious health problems:
Heart attack or stroke
Increased risk for blood clots, diabetes and dementia
Despite a simple diagnosis process, more than half of people with the condition fail to receive proper, adequate treatment. The condition costs the U.S. billions in health care, treatment costs and lost productivity, according to the American Heart Association. Fortunately, there are activities and programs your business can institute to help promote heart health and wellness in your employees.
Improving heart health can be as simple as eating a heart-healthy diet consisting of fruits, vegetables, nuts and fish, or getting regular exercise—like taking a daily walk. However, it can be challenging to motivate your employees to adopt these activities when they are outside of work. For that reason, here are three programs and activities you can implement to help employees make healthier decisions.
Provide regular wellness screenings either on-site or through a health clinic for all interested employees. These informal appointments should provide employees with a snapshot of their overall wellbeing. If any employees receive a diagnosis of high blood pressure, encourage them to visit his or her doctor to receive formal treatment.
Distribute monthly wellness newsletters that provide strategies on how to remain healthy. Additionally, supplement the newsletters by offering health and wellness seminars to provide your employees with both the tools and knowledge to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Create opportunities at your business for employees to participate in physical activities and a heart-healthy diet:
Promote healthy alternatives in cafeterias and vending machines. You can achieve this by contacting your food distributor and requesting healthier options—such as nuts, fresh and dried fruits, whole grains, and fewer microwavable meals.
Encourage some type of exercise. Your company does not need a gym or designated walking trails to help your employees stay healthy. Instead, you can encourage them to take a walk around the building during their breaks. By walking at least 6,000 steps every day, your employees can improve their health.
Place signs by elevators that encourage people to use the stairs. By taking the stairs each day, your employees can cut their risk of heart attacks in half.
Healthier Employees Are More Productive Employees
Heart disease contributes to absences from work, poor performance and even death. By motivating and empowering your employees to make smart health and wellness decisions, you can keep your health care costs low while also increasing productivity. Simple and straightforward initiatives, such as providing healthier vending machine options and health education, can make an impressive impact.
This article is not intended to be exhaustive nor should any discussion or opinions be construed as legal advice. Readers should contact legal counsel or an insurance professional for appropriate advice.