Health care costs are rising.
In 2007, health care spending in the United States (US) reached $2.3 trillion, and is projected to reach $3 trillion in 2011. Health care spending is projected to reach $4.2 trillion by 2016. (Source: The National Coalition on Health Care)
Children and adults are overweight and obese
61% of Kansans are overweight or obese and 24% of Kansans are obese
Preventable diseases are rising
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports preventable lifestyles-related illnesses account for 70-90% of all health care costs.
The Reality and Cost of Obesity
Only about ¼ of adults in the US eat the recommended servings of fruits and vegetables each day.
Obesity rates have increased by more than 60% among adults in the last 10 years – 25% of the adult population is obese.
More than 60% of adults do not get enough physical activity.
In Kansas in 1995, 15% to 19% were obese; in 2001, this number climbed to 20% to 24%.
Children & Young Adults:
More than 60% of young people eat too much fat, and less than 20% eat the recommended servings of fruits and vegetables each day.
Children and young adults who are overweight are more likely to be overweight or obese as adults.
Almost 16% of our children and young adults are overweight. The CDC have estimated that 1 in 3 children will develop diabetes in their lifetime.
In 2000, the total cost of obesity in the US was estimated to be $117 billion (Source: US Department of Health and Human Services).
The lifetime medical costs of heart-related diseases (hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, high cholesterol) are approximately $10,000 higher for those moderately obese (than among people at healthy weight).
Increased physical activity reduces illnesses associated with obesity, which helps reduce long-term medical costs.
Preventable illness accounts for 70% of the burden of illness and its associated costs.
For more information about obesity, visit these websites:
WE CAN, Ways to Enhance Children’s Activity & Nutrition
National Heart Lung and Blood Institute Obesity Education Initiative
Kansas Department of Health and Environment Office of Health Promotion
Physical activity and nutrition guidelines:
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has developed the “My Pyramid” program to help you choose the foods, amounts and physical exercise that are right for you.
The 3 goals through the pyramid system help you:
Make smart choices from every food group; and
Find your balance between food and physical activity; and
Get the most nutrition out of your calories.
Emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fat-free or low-fat milk, and milk products.
Includes lean meats, poultry fish, beans, eggs, and nuts.
Is low in saturated fats, trans fats cholesterol, salt, and added sugars.
Consume 3 cups per day of fat-free or low-fat milk or milk products.
Choose low-fat or lean meats and poultry. Consume 5.5 ounces of meats and beans per day (based on 2,000 calorie intake).
At least half of your daily “grains” should come from whole grains.
Eat the recommended level of fruits and vegetables each day (for 2,000 calorie intake, this is 2 cups of fruits and 2.5 cups of vegetables per day).
Eat 5 to 9 servings of fruits and veggies a day:
What is a serving? A typical portion is often more than one serving. A large salad, for example, can add up to 2 to 3 servings. One serving of fruits and vegetables should fit within the palm of your hand. It’s a lot smaller than most people think.
Why do we need to eat more fruits and vegetables? Research proves that fruits and vegetables are critical to promoting good health. In fact, fruits and vegetables should be the foundation of a healthy diet. Most people need to double the amount of fruits and vegetables they eat every day.
How do fruits and vegetables fight to protect your health? Fruits and vegetables are packed with essential vitamins, minerals, fiber, and disease-fighting phytochemicals. Because of this, eating variety of fruits and veggies everyday can help reduce your risk of: heart disease, high blood pressure, type II diabetes, and certain cancers.
Does an apple a day keep the doctor away? Not necessarily, but there are many benefits from eating apples: One apple supplies about 20% of the daily fiber recommendations. The fiber in an apple helps reduce cravings for sweet and salty snacks. Apples are high in Vitamin C and Potassium. One medium apple is about 80 calories. Eating an apple promotes good oral health by decreasing plaque on your teeth.
For healthy recipes, check out these sites:
Fruits and Veggies – More Matters!
Stay Young at Heart
Heart-Healthy Home Cooking African American Style
Don’t forget the water!
Water is essential to daily living. It helps with body-temperature maintenance, is needed for your body to function properly and is vital to electrolyte balance. There are recommended amounts for normal activity:
Women – 8 glasses (64 oz.) daily Men – 12 glasses (96 oz.) daily
Of course, with physical exercise, you need to replace the water you lose. Be sure to drink before, during and after exercise to avoid dehydration!
Physical activity: Engage in moderate-intensity physical activities for at least 30 minutes on 5 or more days of the week (source: CDC). Make sure to do at least 10 minutes of activity at a time. For example, you can take three 10-minute brisk walks.
Vigorous exercise includes activities like jogging, running, fast cycling, aerobic classes, swimming laps, singles tennis, and racquetball. These activities usually increase your heart rate, make you sweat and may cause you to breathe faster or with more effort. Moderate exercise includes activities such as brisk walking, gardening, slow cycling, dancing, doubles tennis, or hard work around the house.
For more information about wellness and exercise, visit these websites:
Walk Kansas: A Fitness Challenge
Healthy Kansans 2020
Choose to Move Program for Women
Body mass index: One first step to taking charge of your health is knowing your Body Mass Index. The term BMI is often used when discussing the obesity epidemic, but what is BMI?
Body Mass Index is a number that shows body weight adjusted for height. BMI can be calculated with simple math using inches and pounds, or meters and kilograms. For adults aged 20 years or older, BMI falls into one of these categories: underweight, normal, overweight, or obese. BMI is not the only indicator of health risk.
BMI is just one of many factors related to developing a chronic disease (such as heart disease, cancer, and/or diabetes). Other factors that may be important to look at when assessing your risk for chronic disease include: Eating habits, Physical activity, Waist circumference, Blood pressure, Blood sugar level, Cholesterol level, and Family history of disease.
All person who are obese or overweight should try not to gain additional weight. In addition, those who are obese or who are overweight with other risk factors should consider losing weight. A complete health assessment by a physician is the best way to decide the right steps for you. Whatever your BMI, talk to your doctor to see if you are at an increased risk of disease and if you should lose weight. Even a small weight loss (just 10% of your current weight) may help lower the risk of disease. Physical activity and good nutrition are key factors in leading a healthy lifestyle and reducing risk for disease.
Worksite Wellness Investing in the health of employees is one of the best decisions a company can make. At least 25% of the healthcare costs incurred by working adults are attributed to modifiable health risks such as poor diet and lack of exercise.
Challenges corporations face today…With more pressures today than ever before, Corporate America is struggling to be profitable while healthcare costs continue to rise and attack their most important resource – employees.
Most executives know that creating a wellness environment is the only way to have healthier employees and ultimately lower healthcare costs. Worksites are crucial to improving the health of their workers. Most adults spend more of their waking hours at work than anywhere else, making it a great place for promoting healthful habits. The worksite organizational culture and environment are powerful influences on behavior and can influence employees to adopt a healthier lifestyle.
Employee Benefits of Wellness Policies
Improved physical fitness
Lower levels of stress
Increased well-being, self-image, and self-esteem
Employer Benefits of Wellness Policies
Enhanced recruitment and retention of healthy employees
Reduced healthcare costs
Decreased rates of illness and injuries
Reduced employee absenteeism
Improved employee relations and morale
A US Department of Health and Human Services report in 2002 revealed that at worksites with physical activity programs. Employers have:
Reduced healthcare costs by 20-55%
Reduced short-term sick leave by 6-32%
Increased productivity by 2-52%
Fitness programs have reduced employer healthcare costs by 20-55%
Preventable illnesses make up 70% of illness costs in the United States
Reducing just one health risk increases a person’s productivity on the job by 9% and reduces absenteeism by 2%.
For every $1 the average company spends on its worksite wellness program, it receives an average net benefit of $3.40 to $7.88.
Using these suggestions can help you have a healthy meeting, training and/or event.
- Have a morning meeting? Try these suggestions:
Low-fat breakfast burrito
Low or non-fat yogurt along with low-fat granola
Hard boiled eggs
Whole wheat or multi-grain mini bagels (3.5 inches in diameter or less, or cut regular bagels in half)
Small muffins (2 – 2.5 or smaller) bran, oatmeal, or multi-grain (large muffins can be cut into smaller portion sizes)
Fruit breads (i.e., oatmeal, banana, pumpkin) – cut into small pieces
Whole grain toast or English muffins
Offer low fat cheese, low fat cream cheese, peanut butter, jam or jelly
Granola bars – low fat (5 grams of fat or less per bar)
- What about lunch/ dinner? Try these suggestions:
Salad with low-fat or fat-free dressing on the side
Soups – vegetarian broth based or skim milk based (not cream)
Pasta salad with low-fat dressing
Sandwiches made with whole grain breads or wraps made with lean meats, low-fats cheese, low-fat condiments
2-3 ounce serving - lean meats, poultry, fish, tofu (3 grams fat/oz.)
Steamed vegetables with herbs/lemon
Whole grain rolls
Fresh fruit, canned fruit in fruit juice or light syrup
Include at least one vegetable – fresh or cooked (avoid cream sauces)
Baked potatoes with low-fat toppings (sour cream, plain yogurt, and/or salsa)
Boxed lunches/dinners – whole grain or pita bread or wraps prepared with low-fat mayonnaise lettuce, sprouts, tomatoes, onions, pickles, mustard, ketchup; meats poultry or marinated tofu (low-fat = 3 grams fat/oz.); cheese, request fruit or veggies instead of chips; or if including chips request pretzels or baked chips (7 grams fat or less/oz.)
When serving desserts, offer small serving sizes:
Angel food cake (2 inch squares) with fresh fruit topping
Low-fat ice cream or frozen yogurt
- Ask if it’s really necessary to provide food at the meetings? If so, here are more suggestions:
Fresh fruit – cut up and offer with low-fat yogurt dip
Tortilla chips – baked and offer with salsa
Raw vegetables – cut up and offer with fat-free or low-fat dressing
Pretzels, hot pretzels – cut in pieces
Low-fat cheese, string cheese
Granola bars – low fat (5 grams of fat or less per bar)
“Lite” popcorn (air popped, or low-fat and lightly salted)
Whole grain crackers
Dried fruit or trail mix
- Having a catered event but still want to keep it healthy?
Select an entrée with no more than 12-15 gram of fat
Always offer a vegetarian entrée
Avoid fried foods or cream sauces
Fresh fruit - cut up and offer with low-fat yogurt dip
Include at least one vegetable - fresh or cooked, with no butter or cream sauces added
Choose lower fat/lower calorie desserts: low-fat ice cream or frozen yogurt, sherbet or sorbet, angel food cake with fruit topping
- Having a reception but still want to keep it healthy?
Raw vegetables salads marinated in fat-free or low-fat Italian dressing
Raw vegetables - cut up and offer with fat-free or low-fat dressing, salsa or tofu dip
Pasta, tofu, and vegetable salad with fat-free or low-fat dressing
Fresh fruit - cup up and offer with low-fat yogurt dip
Vegetable sushi rolls
Vegetable spring rolls - fresh, not fried
Low-fat cheese slice or small cubes
Reduced or low-fat whole grain crackers
Salmon (poached or steamed, no breading)
Lean beef or turkey - 1 ounce slices
Miniature meatballs made with lean meat
Mushroom caps with low-fat cheese stuffing
Miniature pizzas made with English muffins, tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, and mushrooms
Cake - cut into small 2 inch squares
Water - bottled, plain, sparkling or flavored sparkling with no added sugar
100% fruit or vegetable juice, avoid large-size bottles
Skim or 1% milk
Coffee and flavored coffees - regular and decaffeinated
Tea - regular and herb teas - hot and cold
Coffee/tea creamer of skim milk, 1% milk or fat-free half & half
And don’t forget to add a walking break, if possible.
For more information about creating a healthy worksite, visit these websites:
American Cancer Society Workplace Solutions
Healthy Workforce 2010 Sourcebook for Employers
Resources for Wellness:
American Heart Association
Fruits and Veggies
Healthy Heart Quizzes
Heart Attack/ Coronary Heart Disease Risk Assessment
High Blood Pressure Health Risk Calculator
My Fat Translator
Stroke Risk Assessment Tool (SRAT)
The Living to 100 Life Expectancy Calculator
My Pyramid Food Plan
Healthy People 2020
National Heart Lung and Blood Institute Diseases and Conditions Index
Cancer Facts & Figures 2017