Prevention Goes a Long Way

Within 10-15 minutes of turning on the TV or listening to the radio, you start to hear the advertisements of products that will make you wiser and heathier. However, what they fail to mention in a society of “take a pill and fix it fast” is that behaviors have to change and that means falling back to the basics – exercise, eat right, and get your check-ups.
Remember the saying “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”?  That is so true. Facts from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) state that over 1 million heart attacks occur each year and heart disease is the number one killer of both men and women in the United States. Obesity is next in line with 1 in 5 American adults considered obese. How do we fix this? We go back to the basics and take advantage of preventive services, announcements, and projects. We take ownership and responsibility of our bad behaviors and make changes to improve our best asset…ourselves.
There are many employers who have jumped on the “Wellness Bandwagon” and are helping their employees try and make better choices and change their behaviors. Simply putting forth information and educational pieces, such as getting annual screenings/exams in areas of common gathering at the workplace, has been instrumental in being a constant reminder that these prevention services are included as part of their health plan. Other employers are having outside vendors come in-house to provide health screenings, smoking cessation coaching, and seminars on diet and management. The constant reinforcement of knowing that a little preventive care will improve their health and help lower future medical bills is proving to be well worth the time for the employers. According to the CDC, on an average it costs employers $1,300 a year more to employ an employee who smokes. Restaurants (with 20 or more locations nationwide) are now required by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to post calories and provide nutritional labeling on their menus. The choice to choose the fries smothered in cheese or the salmon is still ultimately our choice, but the visual of knowing what we are about to consume will be an eye-opener without a doubt. This will gradually change behaviors for all…things in moderation and healthy choices.
It is unfortunate that more organizations do not use the preventive services offered to them through their health carriers and insurance brokers/advisors. According to the National Business Group on Health, fewer than 20% of employees use the preventive services offered in the health plan. At Texas Associates, we spend a great deal of my time educating on these very issues and bringing to light those little things that are too easily forgotten amidst the glow and glare of the golden arches. Education, reminders, incentives, and motivation are the keys to maintaining or striving for a healthy workforce and healthy you. Best of luck in your healthy endeavors this summer!

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