February and hearts go together. Valentine’s Day is in February, of course, but did you know that February is also American Heart Month? This is a great time to take steps to improve heart wellness at your workplace.
Heart Disease: The Leading Killer of Men and Women
A strong workforce is a healthy workforce. When workers are sick, their productivity drops, their absenteeism increases, and their medical costs skyrocket. Poor health can also have a negative impact on office morale and turnover rates. Everyone benefits when workers are healthy.
Unfortunately, many workers are not healthy, and heart disease is a common culprit. According to the CDC, half of all Americans have one or more of the top three risk factors for heart disease. These factors are high blood pressure, high cholesterol and smoking.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death among both men and women in the United States. One out of four deaths is caused by heart disease.
The situation is grim, but there is hope. People can take steps to improve their heart health, and employers can help.
Five Ways to Improve Heart Health
Help your employees improve their heart health by encourage these five changes.
- Quit smoking. According to the CDC, 37 million U.S. adults smoke. This increases their risk of heart disease as well as other serious health problems. Tobacco cessation programs can help workers quit the habit and lead healthier, happier lives.
- Eat right. Healthy foods like whole grains and vegetables may improve heart health, but offices are more likely to supply doughnuts and birthday cake than quinoa and spinach. Encourage healthy eating by stocking the breakroom with nuts, fruits, vegetables and other healthy snacks. And because workers love free food, this is also a simple way to boost job satisfaction and office morale.
- Exercise more. Exercise is important for heart health, but it’s hard to get enough exercise when you’re sitting at a desk all day. Encourage your workers to get up and walk. Consider holding walking meetings, creating nice areas where people can walk during breaks, and providing gym membership as an employee perk.
- Prevent diabetes. Diabetes is a serious condition on its own, but it can also increase a person’s risk of heart disease. The CDC says that nearly 10 percent of the U.S. population has diabetes. Even more people have prediabetes, a precursor to diabetes. Diabetes screening and prevention programs can help reverse this trend.
- Relax. Too much stress can be detrimental to a person’s health. Help your employees relax by encouraging them to use their breaks and vacation time. Keep workloads manageable and foster a supportive and appreciative workplace environment that helps workers thrive.
February is American Heart Month, but heart health is important year-round. Keep working on these areas throughout the year for a happier, healthier workforce. For more risk management advice, contact the risk management specialists at Heffernan Insurance Brokers.