Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Workplace Wellness Programs Help Employees Lose Weight, Lower Cholesterol and Blood Pressure

Workplace wellness programs DO help employees to lose weight, and lower their cholesterol and blood pressure. In a new study, U.S. researchers followed 757 hospital workers who volunteered for a 12-week wellness program focused on diet and exercise. Researchers recorded information about participants' weight, lifestyle and heart disease risk factors at the start and at the end of the wellness program one year later.

"At the start of the study," as reported by HealthDay, "33 percent of participants were overweight (body mass index, or BMI, of 25 to 29.9) and 30 percent were obese (BMI of 30 or more). The researchers found that obese participants lost the most weight -- 3 percent at 12 weeks and 0.9 percent at one year -- and were most likely to reduce their intake of dietary sugar. Overweight participants did almost as well, with an average weight loss of 2.7 percent at 12 weeks and 0.4 percent at one year."

All participants, though, showed improvement in levels of physical activity, lowered cholesterol and blood pressure, and reduced waistlines at the end of the year-long program.

The Massachusetts General Hospital researchers concluded that: "Voluntary wellness programs can successfully address weight loss and lifestyle behaviors for employees in all weight categories, but more work is needed to improve long-term changes."

>> To learn more about wellness consulting and holistic wellness programs, visit the American College of Healthcare Sciences here.

April 4-10 is National Workplace Wellness Week: "
Initiated by the American Heart Association and introduced by Reps. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (D-SD) and Charles Boustany (R-LA), the week serves to encourage private and public employers across the country to invest in the health of their employees by creating worksite wellness programs and to share their best practices with other employers."

>> To read more about National Workplace Wellness Week, including National Start! Walking Day, and the Healthy Workforce Act, checkout the American Heart Association website here.

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