Health Promotion and Wellness Programs: Top Health Risks
Obesity, tobacco use and stress are the most common hazards to health in the American workforce. In addition to the direct harm they cause to individual wellness, they also provoke many indirect issues related to health care.
Weight loss and tobacco cessation are similar in that they both require behavioral modification and a comprehensive maintenance plan to curb the chances of a relapse. Staff qualifications should indicate training and experience adequate to deal with this type of psychology.
Furthermore, weight loss and tobacco cessation programs have varying success rates across different demographics and within small groups; therefore, health promotion and wellness programs have to be tailored to fit individual needs.
Before a diet and exercise plan can be implemented, a Health Risk Assessment is necessary to seek out pre-conditions for heart disease or stroke which could be compromised by the health promotion and wellness program.
Exercise programs and nutrition education should be scientifically-based, drug-free and physician approved. Weight loss has to be the result of a balance between caloric intake, healthy meals and exercise.
For resources and guidelines pertaining to obesity, nutrition, exercise and diet plans, consult: National Heart, Lung & Blood Institute
Health Promotion and Physical Activity Programming
Encouraging people to exercise involves more than merely offering physical activity opportunities. Motivating employees includes acknowledging their present sedentary lifestyle and persuading them to make realistic and alternative lifestyle choices. The exercise program should be selected by the employee and offered during a time that is convenient for them in order to achieve a consistent participation rate.
Education will be necessary to teach employees the relationship between activity, diet and health and to demonstrate how this can be changed to encourage physical wellness. Health promotion and wellness program supervision will be necessary to ensure that injury does not develop and exercise programs are introduced safely.
Appropriate education in physiology, sports medicine or an equivalent and have a current CPR/First Aid certification should verify that health promotion and wellness programs are operated safely. The Health Risk Assessment should be checked to ensure the participant has agreed to a referral, elected exercise options and verified that there are no contravening health issues that preclude an exercise program.
Staff should monitor heart rate and blood pressure to protect health promotion and wellness program goals during all intervention procedures. Safe exercise guidelines are offered by the American College Of Sports Medicine. Free Fitness Handouts and Fitness Posters can also be found in our Wellness Library.
Wellness Programs and Tobacco Abuse
Smoking cessation is one of the most difficult health risk issues to tackle because nicotine is considered to be one of the most addictive substances. In order to succeed, participants must want to quit. Preparation to quit, support with choosing a method to quit and visible proof of results need to be demonstrated. Counseling should be available for the participant at any time.
Not all cessation programs work the same way with everyone. A qualified counselor should recognize individual differences and be able to match cessation programs with individual preferences. Diet plans, exercise programs, and activities that preclude smoking need to be presented as part of the cessation program.
Relapses are common; therefore, a maintenance plan is mandatory. Nicotine substitution patches, sprays, gums or other medicinal options should be included in the counseling session to support cessation efforts.
Guidelines and resources for cessation programs are plentiful. Some of the best offerings are presented at the Surgeon General’s website, The American Heart Association, The American Cancer Society, The American Lung Association, or Smoke Enders.
For the purpose of tracking tobacco cessation success rate, the participants who began the program need to be the same ones who finished it. Maintenance parts of cessation should be recorded for a minimum of one year.
Healthy Choices, Healthy Diet
The Health Risk Assessment tests where nutritional education would benefit. With almost a seventy percent rate of obesity, the American workforce is in dire need of healthy food choice counseling. Health promotion and wellness programs promote better food choices by teaching participants how to identify low carbohydrate, lower calorie, high protein, and high fiber foods.
Explaining the relationship between obesity and the escalating incidence of heart disease, Type II Diabetes and health care costs should help motivate participants to seek help to lose weight. Nutrition counseling resources should always be used in consultation with a trained.
Stress and the Workplace
Another common finding in health promotion and wellness programs is the need for stress management in the workplace. More stress-related problems are the result of the inability to cope with stressors, than they are of the issue that produces the stress.
Stress management should emphasis problem recognition and solving skills, effective communication, relaxation techniques and solution-based options. Coping mechanisms are encouraged by familiarizing employees with the organizational resources that can be used to deal with conflict as it arises. This prevents antagonistic situations from escalating and causing undue stress.
Writer Bio: John Bates is a leading wellness industry consultant and prolific writer about all aspects of health and wellness programs. His work can be found on numerous wellness websites including his own: Infinite Wellness Solution’s and Infinite Health Coach.