Start an Employee Wellness Program During American Heart Month

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What better time to encourage all employees to make their health a priority and prevent heart disease and stroke than American Heart Month. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is offering a wide range of resources that employers can use to help workers monitor their blood pressure and protect their heart throughout the month of February. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), heart disease and stroke are responsible for the most deaths worldwide. As employers, you can help workers incorporate more heart-healthy behaviors by making employee wellness an important part of your company culture.

Common Risk Factors for Heart Disease

  • High blood pressure
  • High blood cholesterol
  • Smoking
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Poor diet
  • Lack of physical activity

Many, if not all these risk factors can be avoided by making lifestyle changes and sticking with them. Employers who offer comprehensive wellness programs send an important message to their employees that their health is a priority. An effective wellness program should include the following:

Smoke-Free Work Environment

Since the Surgeon General named smoking as the leading preventable cause of disease and death in the United States, creating a smoke-free workplace should be a top priority. This will protect employees who smoke, as well as protecting non-smokers from being exposed to second-hand smoke. Offer smoking cessation programs and make sure that all employees understand where they can and cannot smoke.

Encourage Healthy Eating

 The standard American diet tends to include a lot of salt, sugar, unhealthy fats, and processed food. Employers can replace many of those unhealthy options with heart healthy ones, including dried fruit and nuts in vending machines and healthier options when catering meals, including salads and lean meats.

Motivate Workers to Exercise

Exercise lowers blood pressure and unhealthy cholesterol. Encourage employees to participate in walking lunches or create a space where yoga classes can take place. Offer employee discounts for gym memberships or coupons for group classes. Avoid scheduling meetings during the lunch hour so that employees can stick to a routine of getting exercise during that time.

Discuss the Benefits of Limiting Alcohol Consumption

While the occasional drink is fine, too much alcohol can cause a range of health issues, including increased blood pressure and irregular heart rhythms. Limit happy hours and the amount of alcohol that is offered at company functions.

Offer Free Health Screenings

Bring in health professionals to test employees’ blood pressure, BMI, glucose, and triglycerides. This can help catch early signs of heart disease and encourage workers to make lifestyle changes.

Address Stress

Stress can cause people to engage in unhealthy habits, such as smoking, binge eating, overdrinking, and physical inactivity. Make sure that your wellness program also focuses on mental and emotional health. Provide stress management resources, such as meditation or yoga classes.

Baltimore Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Assist Workers Throughout the Claims Process

If you are at risk of developing heart disease, and your employer does not offer a supportive wellness program, contact the Baltimore Workers’ Compensation lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton. We will ensure that you receive the full financial benefits to which you are entitled and protect your rights throughout the claims process. To schedule a free consultation, call us today at 844-556-4LAW (4529) or contact us online. Located in Baltimore, we serve clients throughout Maryland.