by Mick Daly (Juice Plus+) …
The success of any company or business depends heavily on the productivity and performance of its employees. There is strong data to suggest that high levels of stress, excess body weight, and other multiple risk factors are associated with increased corporate healthcare costs and illness-related absenteeism. Studies show that wellness programs lower levels of absenteeism and reduce healthcare costs. Providing education and motivation to improve employee health can produce valuable rewards for both employees and employers. Because most people spend so many of their waking hours at work, that can be an excellent environment for influencing healthy habits.
Benefits of corporate wellness programs can include:
- Lower healthcare costs
- Reduced chronic disease risk
- Decreased rates of illness, injury and disability
- Reduced absenteeism
- Increased employee productivity and efficiency
- Improved morale and lower stress levels
- Enhanced retention of healthy employees
The Numbers Tell the Story
- More than 133 million Americans, or 45 percent of the population, have at least one chronic condition.
- According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), healthcare spending on chronic diseases accounts for 75% of healthcare spending.
- Obesity is one of the root causes of chronic disease, accounting for nearly 10% of the amount that the U.S. spends annually on healthcare. A recent study found that obesity-related health spending reached $147 billion, double what it was nearly a decade ago.3
- In 2007, total healthcare spending was $2.4 trillion, or $7,900 per person. U.S. healthcare spending represented 17% of the gross domestic product (GDP). U.S. healthcare spending is expected to increase at similar levels for the next decade, reaching $4.3 trillion in 2017, or 20% of GDP.
- Premiums for employer-sponsored health insurance have risen from $5,791 in 1999 to $13,375 in 2009 (a 131% increase), with the amount paid by workers rising by 128%.
- A recent study shows that if individuals adhere to healthy lifestyle practices (maintaining a healthy weight, eating well, getting regular exercise, not smoking), chronic disease could be reduced by as much as 80%.
Factors Affecting Productivity
One of the most serious health-related problems in the workplace impacting on-the-job accidents, absenteeism and lowered productivity, is fatigue. Nearly 40 percent of U.S. workers experience fatigue, according to a study in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. Fatigue carries overall estimated costs of more than $136 billion per year in health-related lost productivity. Eighty-four percent of the costs were related to reduced performance while at work, rather than absences.
Along with fatigue (often caused by poor sleep), other common “energy zappers” are poor food choices, lack of exercise, dehydration, lack of sleep, and stress. All of these factors can affect employee productivity.
How to Adopt Healthy Habits – A 6-Month Plan to Healthy Living
Your life is shaped by the things that you repeatedly do. Choosing healthy, positive behaviors helps you reach your goals, while unhealthy habits negatively affect your health and can act as deterrents to getting you to where you want to be. Focusing on one change at a time can increase your success in adopting new, healthier habits. Based on this incremental concept, here is a 6-month plan for creating wellness in your workplace.
Month 1 —Fortify with Core Nutritional Supplements
Our bodies need a constant supply of nutrients to function at their best, but deficiencies are prevalent in our society and contribute to disease risk. Many of the most common health conditions have been directly linked to improper nutrition and poor lifestyle habits. Even small nutritional deficiencies can compromise immunity, vitality, and damage health.
Unfortunately, even the best diet cannot protect you from nutrient deficiencies. Stress, poor food choices, medications, and illnesses can further deplete your body of important nutrients. Nutritional supplements help to create a strong foundation for overall health.
However, many studies have shown the negative results from taking traditional supplements. Some examples include:
“A daily multi is a waste of money … and some other old standbys may even hurt your health.” Reader’s Digest 2010
“Vitamin supplements might raise risk of early death” The Lancet 2004
“Volunteers given pills containing E, C, beta-carotene, selenium and zinc were four times more likely to get skin cancer than those who took dummy pills.“ European Journal of Cancer Prevention 2010
“Antioxidant supplements prevent health-promoting effects of physical exercise in humans.” Proceeds of National Academy of Sciences 2009
“Regular exercise decreases risk for type 2 diabetes. Surprisingly, use of antioxidant supplements (C and E) blunts these beneficial effects, even though diets that are rich in fruits and vegetables lower the risk of diabetes.” Journal Watch General Medicine 2009
The following five key nutritional elements help create a strong foundation for health and establish a bank of resources to build and repair your body, and to fuel your daily activities. Correcting nutrient deficiencies is the first and most important step in preventative healthcare.
1) Multivitamin / Mineral
A high-potency whole food-based multivitamin and mineral supplement is necessary to fill nutrient gaps in our diet. It provides a comprehensive selection of nutrients in optimal dosage levels (those found in nature) and highly usable forms. Juice Plus+ is the most thoroughly researched nutritional product in history, proven to provide the support necessary and to bridge the nutritional gaps we all face. You can read about the published research here.
Antioxidants protect the body from damage caused by poor dietary habits, exposure to pollution, sun damage, smoking, drinking alcohol, and other lifestyle factors. Antioxidants can be protective and helpful for detoxification, healthy cellular growth, brain, eye, skin, heart health, and aging. Juice Plus+ is proven to significantly increase levels of antioxidants.
3) Essential Fatty Acids
Omega-3 essential fatty acids (EFAs) are vital to health and are not manufactured by the body. The standard American diet is largely devoid of these important lipids. EFAs benefit many different areas of the body, such as skin and hair, eyes, bones and joints, and the cardiovascular and nervous systems.
4) Bone Nutrients
Bone is dynamic, living tissue that is continually being renewed. Poor diet, lack of physical activity, general aging, and hormonal changes disrupt the healthy processes of bone renewal. The minerals used by your body in response to stressful activities, allergies, and regular daily needs all deplete from your body’s mineral warehouse, your bones. Eating a balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables, taking Juice Plus+ , exercising regularly, and taking an Omega-3 supplement that includes vitamin D3 are all highly recommended.
Month 2 — Provide Healthy Food Options
The foods you eat alter your brain chemistry and affect your mood and ability to think clearly. Foods that are fresh (organic when possible), whole, naturally colorful and rich in nutrients support your vitality, energy levels, and improve physical, mental, and emotional health. Foods that are heavily processed contain refined sugars, trans fats, preservatives, and artificial ingredients offer little or no nutritional value and can harm your health and lead to inflammation. Poor eating habits have been shown to be a known risk factor for the development of three leading causes of death: coronary heart disease, cancer, and stroke. Dietary factors also contribute to other chronic diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, and osteoporosis.
Month 3 — Promote Regular Exercise
Your mind, body, and spirit can all benefit from engaging in physical activity. For your body, exercise helps to protect against the development of chronic diseases, supports healthy bone density, supports healthy weight management, increases heart and lung function, and has a positive effect on cholesterol levels and blood pressure. And for your mind and spirit, exercise decreases muscle tension, can enhance feelings of well-being, improves your ability to handle stress, and often improves self-esteem and elevates mood.
Month 4 — Support Stress Reduction
Stress is a contributing factor in many health problems and accounts for billions of lost workdays annually. Unresolved stress, whether physical, mental, or emotional in nature, has a negative effect on health. Regular or continuous stress weakens the immune system, increases the likelihood of illness, and slows the healing process.
To buffer the effects of negative stress on your body, it’s important to take Juice Plus+, eat a well-balanced diet, sleep restfully, and get regular cardiovascular exercise. Incorporating relaxation practices such as meditation, yoga, and deep breathing into your daily life can also be wonderfully beneficial.
Month 5 — “Green” Your Work Environment to Reduce Harmful Toxins (and Be Kinder to our Planet)
A toxic substance is any compound that has an unhealthy effect on cellular structure or function. We are exposed to numerous potentially toxic chemicals on a daily basis, often without even knowing it. Even small, seemingly insignificant amounts can negatively affect many aspects of your health, and also be cumulative. Exposure may come from food, drinking water, cleaning products, yard chemicals, and even building materials like carpet and paint. It’s important to become aware of common toxins in your environment, take steps to limit exposure, and increase your body’s natural detoxification defenses.
Month 6 — Getting to the Root Cause: Specialized Testing For Further Individualization
Diagnostic tests can provide powerful insights into your health and enhance your wellness. Beyond yearly physicals, you should also receive regular screenings to decrease your risk of disease. Colonoscopies, thermograms, pap smears or prostate exams, and vision tests are also part of preventative care. Examples of important blood tests include CBC, cholesterol panel, C-reactive protein, homocysteine levels, hemoglobin A-1 C, and thyroid levels.
A very important test to have on a regular basis is your vitamin D status, since it is estimated that over 70% of Americans are deficient in this vital nutrient. Cancer, heart disease, multiple sclerosis, diabetes, osteoporosis, and a host of other conditions including the flu and common cold are believed to be associated with low levels of vitamin D. The 25-hydroxy vitamin D test is the most accurate way to measure how much vitamin D is in your body. Optimal vitamin D levels are between 40-70 mg/mL15
If you supplement with Juice Plus+, modify your diet, exercise regularly, and reduce your toxin exposure, yet still experience symptoms (digestive complaints, weight gain, headaches, fatigue, mood swings), you may want to consider testing that can check for nutrient deficiencies, heavy metals, food sensitivities, and hormone levels (including adrenal function).
Corporate Wellness Works
Studies confirm that health improvements and cost savings are achievable by providing work-site programs for health promotion and disease prevention. On average, for every $1 spent on health management and education, companies could save $3 on healthcare costs. Adopting healthy practices can be affordable and simple and does not have to require expensive technology or elaborate treatment facilities. Providing health education seminars and materials can help employees take responsibility and transform their health and productivity; we can provide this service for you, right here in Eagle, at no charge – just email us.