Monthly Archives: May 2009

Worksite Wellness: How to Successfully Gain Senior Management Support

MANASQUAN, N.J.  — Gaining senior management support is essential for the success of any workplace wellness program, wellness experts agree.

The support of senior management is always one of the chief concerns of workplace wellness professionals, according to our annual wellness management surveys.

That is why the Wellness Management Information Center has organized an audio Webcast addressing this important topic for May 28.

Senior management can make or break a wellness program considering they have control of the money, resources, and employees’ time.

The expert presenter will be Judd Allen, president of the Human Resources Institute, LLC. Allen is a member of the Board of Directors of the National Wellness Institute, and serves on the editorial board of the American Journal of Health Promotion.

Most managers are aware that wellness programs are valuable they just need to understand the value and benefits to supporting it.

If employees see their supervisors supportive of their wellness program the employees will feel more comfortable getting involved and in turn start living a healthier lifestyle.

During this program you will learn how to face opposition and change the opinions of management in your favor. Find out how to successfully get your senior management team more involved!

Join the Wellness Management Information Center and Judd Allen for “Worksite Wellness: How to Successfully Gain Senior Management Support,” a special 60-minute audio webcast scheduled for Thursday, May 28, 2009 from 1:30-2:30 PM EDT.
http://www.healthresourcesonline.com/edu/wellnessmgmt.htm

                        Agenda  

– How senior management can improve your wellness program  
– Strategies to face resistance to your program  
– How to change the attitudes of senior management in your favor  
– Strategies to change opinions of management who actively or quietly oppose wellness program  
– Approaches to getting your management team more involved  
– Tips for developing a business case  
H-ow to develop wellness leadership skills  
– Tactics for changing management culture  
– How to inspire by example  
– Live question and answer session  
– Full information on the program along with registration details are available at: http://www.healthresourcesonline.com/edu/wellnessmgmt.htm

Address: Wellness Programs Management Advisor, 1913 Atlantic Avenue, Suite 200, Manasquan, NJ 08736; (732) 292-1100, www.wellnessjunction.com.

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About the Wellness Management Information Center.

The Wellness Management Information Centeris a part of Health Resources Publishing LLC which has been providing targeted information to healthcare professionals for the more than 30 years.

We have been tracking, compiling, analyzing and reporting on trends in wellness and health promotion since the mid-1980s.

That expertise has been translated into books, special reports, white papers, management guides and audio conferences and webcasts for wellness and health promotion professionals.

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Study Compares Exercise Regimens for Obese Older Adults

Sedentary, obese older adults appear to improve their functional abilities and reduce insulin resistance through a combination of resistance and aerobic exercises, according to a report in the Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Older adults currently comprise less than 13 percent of the U.S. population but account for about 35 percent of total personal health care costs, according to background information in the article. “Projections indicating that the U.S. population 65 years and older will increase from 12 percent in 2000 to 20 percent in 2030 underscore the urgent need to develop effective strategies designed to manage the risk factors for disease and disability and thereby improve the overall health and quality of life of older adults,” the authors write.

“With respect to risk factors for disease, it is well established that aging is associated with a marked increase in insulin resistance, a primary defect that precedes serious diseases, including diabetes, stroke and coronary heart disease independent of other major cardiovascular disease risk factors,” they continue.

“Aging is also associated with a progressive increase in functional limitations that affect activities of daily living and quality of life and that are highly predictive of subsequent disability,” the report of the study said.

Lance E. Davidson, Ph.D., of Queen’s University, Kingsland, Ontario, Canada, and Columbia University, New York, and colleagues conducted a randomized clinical trial involving 136 sedentary older adults who were abdominally obese, meaning they had a waist circumference of at least 102 centimeters (40 inches) for men or 88 centimeters (35 inches) for women.

For six months, participants were randomly assigned to one of four groups: resistance exercise (one set of nine exercises, 20 minutes three times per week), aerobic exercise (30 minutes of moderate-intensity treadmill walking five times per week), combined exercise (30 minutes of aerobic exercise three times per week plus 60 minutes of resistance training weekly) and a control group that did not exercise.

After six months, insulin resistance improved in the aerobic and combined exercise groups as compared with the control group. In addition, all exercise groups improved their functional limitation (as measured by tests such as the number of times a person could stand up out of a chair in 30 seconds or step in place in two minutes) compared with the control group. The combined exercise group showed greater improvement than the aerobic only group. Finally, cardiorespiratory fitness increased in the aerobic and combined exercise groups but not in the resistance exercise group.

“That these observations were obtained in response to 90 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise combined with 60 minutes of resistance exercise performed across three days each week is promising and suggests that substantial improvement in overall health through effective management of risk factors for disease and disability can be achieved in a pragmatic manner,” the authors write. “Health care providers are encouraged to promote performance of resistance and aerobic exercise by older adults for simultaneous reduction of insulin resistance and functional limitations, established risk factors for disease and disability.”

The report of the study appeared in the January 26 issue of the Archives. The study was supported by a research grant from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

Congress Plans Incentives for Employers That Offer Wellness

Funding has repeatedly been cited as one of the major challenges for many wellness managers, according to our Workplace Wellness Management Surveys over the years.  A nagging problem. 

A new Congressional development development may focus new attention on workplace wellness programs. 

Congress Plans Incentives for Employers That Offer Wellness 

WASHINGTON — In its effort to overhaul health care, Congress is planning to give employers sweeping new authority to reward employees for healthy behavior, including better diet, more exercise, weight loss and smoking cessation. 

A web of federal rules limits what employers and insurers can do now. 

Congress is seriously considering proposals to provide tax credits or other subsidies to employers who offer wellness programs that meet federal criteria.

In addition, lawmakers said they would make it easier for employers to use financial rewards…..

 For complete article go to:
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/10/health/policy/10health.html?ref=global-home

Study Finds Waist Size is a Predictor of Heart Failure in Both Men and Women

Adding to the growing evidence that a person’s waist size is an important indicator of heart health, a study led by investigators at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) has found that larger waist circumference is associated with increased risk of heart failure in middle-aged and older populations of men and women.

The findings, published online in the April 7 Rapid Access Report of the journal Circulation: Heart Failure, showed that increased waist size was a predictor of heart failure even when measurements of body mass index (BMI) fell within the normal range.

“Currently, 66 percent of adults in the United States are overweight or obese,” explains Emily Levitan, ScD, the study’s first author and a Research Fellow in the Cardiovascular Epidemiology Research Unit at BIDMC. “Knowing that the prevalence of heart failure increased between 1989 and 1999, we wanted to better understand if and how this increase in obesity was contributing to these rising figures.”

A life-threatening condition that develops when the heart can no longer pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs, heart failure (also known as congestive heart failure) is usually caused by existing cardiac conditions, including high blood pressure and coronary artery disease. Heart failure is the leading cause of hospitalization among patients 65 and older, and is characterized by such symptoms as fatigue and weakness, difficulty walking, rapid or irregular heartbeat, and persistent cough or wheezing.

The researchers examined two Swedish population-based studies, the Swedish Mammography Cohort (made up of 36,873 women aged 48 to 83) and the Cohort of Swedish Men (43,487 men aged 45 to 79) who responded to questionnaires asking for information about their height, weight and waist circumference. Over a seven-year period between January 1998 and December 2004 the researchers reported 382 first-time heart-failure events among the women (including 357 hospital admissions and 25 deaths) and 718 first-time heart-failure events among men (accounting for 679 hospital admissions and 39 deaths.)

Their analysis found that based on the answers provided by the study participants, 34 percent of the women were overweight and 11 percent were obese, while 46 percent of the men were overweight and 10 percent were obese.

“By any measure – BMI, waist circumference, waist to hip ratio or waist to height ratio –our findings showed that excess body weight was associated with higher rates of heart failure,” explains Levitan.

Further breakdown of the numbers showed that among the women with a BMI of 25 (within the normal range), a 10-centimeter higher waist measurement was associated with a 15 percent higher heart failure rate; women with a BMI of 30 had an 18 percent increased heart failure rate. In men with a BMI of 25, a 10-centimeter higher waist circumference was associated with a 16 percent higher heart failure rate; the rate increased to 18 percent when men’s BMI increased to 30.

Furthermore, adds Levitan, among the men, each one-unit increase in BMI was associated with a four percent higher heart failure rate, no matter what the man’s waist size. In women, she adds, BMI was only associated with increased heart failure rates among the subjects with the largest waists. Finally, the authors found that the association between BMI and heart-failure events declined with age, suggesting that the younger the person, the greater the impact of weight to heart health.

“This study reinforces the importance of maintaining a healthy weight,” says Levitan. “Previous research has looked at various types of heart disease and related health issues, and no matter the particulars of the study, they’ve all been pretty consistent in determining that excess body weight increases a person’s risk of heart disease.”

Study coauthors include BIDMC investigators Murray A. Mittleman, MD, DrPH (senior author), Amy Z. Yang, BA and Alicja Wok, DrMedSci.

The study was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health, the Swedish Research Council and the Swedish Foundation for International Cooperation in Research and Higher Education.

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center is a patient care, research and teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School and consistently ranks in the top four in National Institutes of Health funding among independent hospitals nationwide. BIDMC is a clinical partner of the Joslin Diabetes Center and a research partner of the Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center. BIDMC is the official hospital of the Boston Red Sox.

For more information, visit www.bidmc.org

Cleveland Clinic Enhances Employee Wellness Efforts With Free Weight Watchers Services

The Cleveland Clinic developed several new enhancements to its employee wellness program.

Among the program’s features, employees who participate in the clinic’s corporate employee health plan (EHP) can select Weight Watchers services at no cost, free memberships to select fitness facilities, and free smoking cessation treatment and medication through the hospital’s smoking cessation program.

“Our employees are our greatest resources, and by improving their quality of life with these new programs, we’re able to have a positive impact on them and on our patients,” said Joe Patrnchak, chief human resources officer for Cleveland Clinic. “By removing the traditional barriers of cost and inconvenience, which can keep people from participating in healthy activities, we are encouraging our employees to embrace healthy living,”  he said in a recent issue of Wellness Program Management Advisor.

Cleveland Clinic began offering employee-focused wellness programs when it established its Wellness Institute nearly three years ago. The effort has raised awareness for healthy lifestyle choices among employees and has resulted in the clinic taking a leadership role in employee wellness, the clinic said.

Cleveland Clinic said it has consistently sought to shift the national focus from providing “sick” care to promoting wellness.

From designating its entire health system smoke free on July 4, 2005, to no longer hiring smokers as of Sept. 1, 2007 and banning trans-fats from its menus, Cleveland Clinic said it is dedicated to creating a healthier environment for its employees, patients and community.