Why start a wellness program?

The ROI of worksite wellness programs.

As a small business owner, you know that formal wellness programs have been in place in large companies and organizations for years – and that all current data demonstrates a significant return on investment for employers when they invest in organized employee health and wellness efforts.

The move to introduce formal wellness initiatives in small companies has been happening more quietly, and while much available measurements are based on larger organizations, there’s little doubt that a healthy workforce – regardless of size – is a more productive workforce. It’s simple: When your employees are healthy, they get sick less often, don’t miss as much work, and are better able to handle stress and meet customer needs more effectively.

Here are some eye-opening statistics that demonstrate the value – and employer return on investment – thanks to formal workplace wellness programs:

  • A review of 32 studies of corporate wellness programs found claims costs were reduced by 27.8%, physician visits declined by 16.5%, hospital admissions declined by 62.5%, disability costs reduced by 34.4%, incidence of injury declined by 24.8%.
  • A study reported average annual savings of $8.5 million during 4 years when 18,331 Johnson & Johnson employees participated in a health and wellness program at work.
  • A separate study of the same group showed reductions in tobacco use, sedentary lifestyle, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, low dietary fiber intake and poor motor vehicle safety practices.
  • Another study showed that employees who utilized an employee fitness center gained both physical and psychological benefits: improved morale (64%), job satisfaction (70%), work productivity (66%), energy level (83%), physical fitness (86%), general health (80%), work/life balance (63%), stress management (76%), stamina/endurance (84%), attentiveness at work (70%), healthy back (74%), keeping high blood pressure in check (62%), managing cholesterol levels (68%), and controlling weight (76%).
  • Citibank’s health management program reported an estimated return on investment of $4.56 to $4.73 saved per $1 spent on the program (AJHP, Ozminkowski, Goetzel et al., 1999).
  • Over 5 years, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Indiana realized a 250% return on its corporate fitness program investment, yielding a ROI of $2.51 for every $1.00 invested (AJHP, Kenneth R. Pelletier, March/April 1991).

 

From www.aurorahealthcare.org

Preventing the Flu: Good Health Habits Can Help Stop Germs

The single best way to prevent seasonal flu is to get vaccinated each year, but good health habits like covering your cough and washing your hands often can help stop the spread of germs and prevent respiratory illnesses like the flu. There also are flu antiviral drugs that can be used to treat and prevent the flu.

  1. Avoid close contact.
    Avoid close contact with people who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too.
  2. Stay home when you are sick.
    If possible, stay home from work, school, and errands when you are sick. You will help prevent others from catching your illness.
  3. Cover your mouth and nose.
    Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. It may prevent those around you from getting sick.
  4. Clean your hands.
    Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs.
  5. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
    Germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth.
  6. Practice other good health habits.
    Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food.

 

From www.cdc.gov

Breast Self-Awareness

Except for skin cancers, breast cancer is the most common cancer in women, but it can be successfully treated. Screening tests can find cancer early, when it’s most treatable.

Susan G. Komen for the Cure recommends that you:

1. Know your risk

  • Talk to your family to learn about your family health history
  • Talk to your provider about your personal risk of breast cancer

2. Get screened

  • Ask your doctor which screening tests are right for you if you are at a higher risk
  • Have a mammogram every year starting at age 40 if you are at average risk
  • Have a clinical breast exam at least every 3 years starting at 20, and every year starting at 40

3. Know what is normal for you

See your health care provider right away if you notice any of these breast changes:

  • Lump, hard knot or thickening
  • Swelling, warmth, redness or darkening
  • Change in the size or shape of the breast
  • Dimpling or puckering of the skin
  • Itchy, scaly sore or rash on the nipple
  • Pulling in of your nipple or other parts of the breast
  • Nipple discharge that starts suddenly
  • New pain in one spot that doesn’t go away

4. Make healthy lifestyle choices

  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Add exercise into your routine
  • Limit alcohol intake

 

Reproduced with the  permission of Susan G. Komen for the Cure®.

Mold Allergy

Mold is an organism that is present in most places, outdoors and indoors. It is a type of fungus that works to break down dead material and return nutrients to the environment. Mold grows by digesting plant or animal matter, such as leaves, wood, paper, dirt, and food and spreads by releasing tiny, lightweight spores that travel through the air. Mold grows quickly in moist dark spaces, such as basements, garbage cans, and piles of rotting leaves.

On food, mold often is visible on the food’s surface, such as the fuzzy green spots that appear on bread. However, molds also have branches and roots. As it grows, the mold’s roots can penetrate deep inside the food, where it cannot be seen.

All of us are exposed to some mold every day with no bad effects. We may breathe in mold spores that are present in the air or eat foods in which mold has begun to grow. People with mold allergies, however, may have a reaction if exposed to too much of the fungus.

What Are the Symptoms of a Mold Allergy?

Symptoms of a mold allergy are those typical of many other allergies. They include:

  • Wheezing
  • Stuffy or runny nose
  • Itchy, watery eyes
  • Rash or hives

If you have a mold allergy, avoiding all exposure to mold may not be possible. However, you can reduce your risk of reaction by choosing your foods carefully. Check all foods for signs of mold before you eat them. Do not smell foods to see if they are spoiled because inhaling mold spores can set off an allergic reaction. In addition, you can avoid foods that are more likely to contain mold or other fungi, such as mushrooms and yeast.

Common food sources of mold include:

  • Cheese
  • Mushrooms
  • Vinegar and foods containing vinegar, such as salad dressing, catsup, and pickles
  • Sour cream, sour milk, and buttermilk
  • Meat or fish more than 24 hours old
  • Breads and other food made with yeast
  • Sauerkraut
  • Pickled and smoked meats and fish
  • Dried fruits such as dates, prunes, figs, and raisins
  • Soy sauce
  • Hot dogs, sausages
  • Canned juices
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