Author Archives | Diane Andrea

About Diane Andrea

Diane is the Wellness Consultant for J.W. Terrill. Diane is a registered and licensed dietitian and certified health coach with over 20 years experience in the wellness field.

May is Mental Health Month

May 1, 2017

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Depression affects both the physical and mental wellbeing of individuals. Approximately 1 in 10 people will deal with depression at some time in their life according to the CDC. Depression is estimated to cause 200 million lost workdays each year costing employers $17 – $44 billion.

Depression in the workplace can show up in employees in a variety of ways such as decreased productivity, poor quality work, missed deadlines, tardiness, indecisiveness, accidents on the job, procrastination and changes in work-related relationships.

An Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is an excellent resource for employees. If an EAP is part of the benefits package, be sure it is promoted so that employees know how to access. There are some other excellent free resources available for employers and their employees:

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Phone Number: 1-800-273-8255

Promote awareness and make sure your employees know where to go for help.

Sources:

www.rightdirectionforme.com

https://www.cdc.gov/workplacehealthpromotion/health-strategies/depression/index.html

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Celebrate National Nutrition Month

March 7, 2017

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The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics sets aside every March to celebrate National Nutrition Month. The purpose of the campaign is to educate and inform consumers on the importance of nutrition in their everyday lives. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is the world’s largest organization of food and nutrition professionals. There are over 100,000 credentialed practitioners in the organization. Members of the Academy include registered dietitian nutritionists and nutrition and dietetic technicians, registered. A registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) is a food and nutrition expert who can translate the science of nutrition into practical guidelines for healthy living.

The theme for National Nutrition Month 2017 is “Put Your Best Fork Forward.” The campaign encourages consumers to begin by making small healthy changes. These small changes can add up to bigger, lasting changes over time. For example, begin by incorporating one cup of vegetables at every lunch. This healthy change can lead to an increase of vitamins, minerals and fiber in the diet and decrease the risk for chronic disease. Step out and make a change today!

Resources from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

Find a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

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November is American Diabetes Month

November 10, 2016

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According to the American Diabetes Association, 1 in 11 Americans or 29 million people have diabetes. Another 86 million adults are at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Diabetes causes more deaths than AIDS and breast cancer combined. Discuss your risks of developing diabetes with your physician to develop a strategy to prevent, delay or manage the disease. Find more information at www.diabetes.org.

 

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October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October 5, 2016

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According to the American Institute for Cancer Research there are three research-based strategies you can take to prevent 1 of 3 breast cancer cases.

  1. Get to and stay at a healthy weight
  2. Fit activity into your day
  3. Avoid alcohol, or if you do drink, drink moderately

Find the details here.

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EEOC Wellness Notice

September 30, 2016

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As employers continue to develop wellness programs at the workplace, it is important that EEOC, ADA and GINA regulations are met. These regulations require wellness programs that collect health information to provide a notice to the participants.

What notice should be provided?

The EEOC has provided a sample notice that can be tailored to the organization and distributed or the employer can provide their own notice. Employers that provide their own notice should refer to the EEOC website for guidance, as the regulations are very specific as to the information that must be included in the notice.

Who receives the notice?

Under the final rule, employers must provide notice to all wellness program participants if health information is collected health through:

  • Biometric screenings
  • Health risk questionnaires
  • Other means (for example, testing percent body fat at a health fair and collecting the data to use for future programming)

When should the notice be provided?

The notice is required for plan years beginning on or after 1/1/2017. The notice needs to be provided before the employee submits any health information so that employees have enough time to decide whether or not they want to participate. Employers may provide the notice at open enrollment, but it should also be provided prior to the data collection.

How is the notice communicated?

The employer can determine the best means that is most appropriate for employee communication.

Further information can be found in a previous TerrillConnect article.

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September is Fruits & Veggies – More Matters Month

August 29, 2016

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We all know that fruits and vegetables contain nutrients with great health benefits. But fewer than 1 in 4 adults eat the recommended amount of fruits every day and fewer than 1 in 7 adults eat the recommended amount of vegetables every day. Eating a healthy diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables can reduce your risk for heart disease and some types of cancer. It is recommended by various health organizations that individuals consume at least 2 cups of fruit and 3 cups of vegetables daily. Find out more by visiting www.choosemyplate.gov.

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August is National Immunization Awareness Month

August 2, 2016

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The National Public Health Information Coalition has established this annual observance to highlight the importance of immunizations for people of all ages. Adults may not realize that they need vaccines too. The CDC list three reasons why vaccines are still important for adults:

  1. Adults may still be at risk for common diseases. You may have a health condition or different job responsibility that may put you at risk for other diseases. Vaccines may wear off overtime. Even if you were immunized as a child you should still discuss your need for up-to-date vaccines with your physician.
  2. Illnesses take a toll on adults and their families. Even healthy people can get sick and most adults can’t afford to be sick.
  3. Vaccines lower your chances of spreading diseases. Vaccines not only benefit you, but those around you. Individuals with weakened immune systems, the elderly and infants are especially vulnerable to vaccine preventable diseases.

Here is a list of recommended immunizations by age. Most health insurance plans cover the cost of recommended vaccines. Discuss immunizations with your primary care physician to be sure you are up-to-date.

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Well-being and the Aging Workforce

July 18, 2016

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According to the U.S. Census Bureau, by the year 2050, roughly 20% of the total U.S. population will be 65 years of age or older. In 2010 the labor force participation rate for individuals ages 65 and older reached 22.1% for men and 13.8% for women, up from 17.7% and 9.4%, respectively in 2000. The aging workforce is due to many factors, but Americans are living longer and working longer. Nearly 7 out of 10 workers plan to work at age 65 and nearly half plan to work into their 70’s and 80’s. The current workplace has four generations working together. These generations are defined by the Pew Research Center as follows:

  • Millennial Generation (Generation Y) born between 1981 and 2000
  • Generation X (Gen X) born between 1965 and 1980
  • Baby Boom Generation born between 1946 and 1964
  • The Silent Generation (Traditionalists) born between 1928 and 1945

With multi generations comes multi challenges and opportunities.

Millennials and Generation X employees experience challenges to well-being that may be different from that of The Baby Boom or The Silent Generation. Although there are many overlaps, Millennials and Generation X may experience more work stress, financial concerns and work/life balance issues. They tend to be more physically healthy, although Generation X may begin to experience physical symptoms of aging. Baby Boomers and The Silent Generation employees tend to have more physical health concerns when it comes to their well-being. Baby Boomers and The Silent Generation employees begin to experience symptoms and changes related to aging. These changes include: loss of muscular strength and flexibility, limited range of motion, balance challenges, vision changes, slower reactive time and slower mental processing.  The Centers for Disease Control estimates that more than 75% of all workers over the age of 55 have at least one chronic health condition requiring management. These chronic health conditions include diabetes, arthritis, heart disease and cancers.

Workplaces can address each generation’s well-being needs through a variety of means. A safe work environment, flexible scheduling, appropriate training, detailed job descriptions, modifications to the work environment and a robust well-being program can have a positive effect on multi-generations at the workplace. Let’s look at how a well-being program can address the needs of each of the generations.

Millennials tend to be most challenged with nutrition. They are likely to eat out often, choosing fast foods lacking in nutritional quality. A well-being program that addresses the importance of nutrition through educational presentations and programs can be used. For example, a fruit and vegetable challenge can encourage Millennials to increase their consumption fruits and vegetables while competing against co-workers. This generation can also benefit with hands on programs teaching cooking skills. Providing Millennials with healthy recipes and demonstrating how to prepare healthy food can be very impactful. Offering low cost, nutritious meals at the workplace can also help Millennials make good choices. A well-being program that addresses these issues at the workplace will encourage Millennials to choose healthy options at work and at home.

Generation X employees tend to be the least physically active generation since most are raising a family and trying to make important career moves. They may be working longer hours and trying to balance family and work life can be difficult. A well-being program that offers employees ways to stay physically fit will be important. Fitness center subsidies, onsite fitness centers or onsite fitness classes would be an important addition for Generation X employees. Walking or pedometer competitions can make physical activity competitive and fun. Mobile devices and wearable technology can be added to a well-being program to assist these employees with physical activity efforts.

Baby Boomer employees are often taking care of elderly parents and growing children at the same time. This can cause additional stress and decreased well-being. An Employee Assistance Program (EAP) can provide timely resources and tools for this generation. EAP programs provide mental health assistance such as one-on-one counseling, health coaching, elder care resources, financial assistance and more that Baby Boomers would find very useful for their time of life.

Lastly, The Silent Generation employees may require more accommodations to their work environment to assist them with their day-to-day work duties. A well-being program that addresses physical health and ergonomics can aid these employees and decrease risk of injury on the job. Well-being programs that include ergonomic evaluations of the workplace and employees’ career stations can provide very practical means for reducing injury and muscle strain for the employee. Making sure work areas are properly lit, computers and chairs are at proper height and computers are modified to a larger font if needed can be very beneficial to aging workers.

A comprehensive well-being program can meet the needs of all your employees regardless of their generation and help lead them toward improved well-being lasting a lifetime.

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June is National Safety Month

June 7, 2016

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According to the National Safety Council, a worker is injured on the job every 7 seconds. The most common injuries are overexertion due to lifting or lowering, contact with objects and equipment and slips, trips and falls. Each of these is 100% preventable. Make your worksite a safe one.

Find more information on workplace safety here.

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E-Cigarettes and the FDA

May 11, 2016

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The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recently issued a final ruling to extend its governing authority over all tobacco products, including electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes), vaporizers, vape pens, hookah pens, e-pipes and all other electronic delivery systems. These products use liquid containing nicotine along with flavorings and other ingredients. The FDA will now regulate the manufacturing, importing, packaging, labeling, advertising, promotion, sale and distribution of the electronic delivery systems. This regulation also includes components and parts of these systems such as the cartridges, e-liquids and flavorings. The rule will also prohibit sales to anyone under 18.

The changes will mean that makers of these products will need to register with the FDA, state the content of the product including a list of ingredients and get approval to market new tobacco products. Product packaging and advertising of newly-regulated tobacco product will bear a warning statement declaring that the product contains nicotine, an addictive chemical. If the product does not contain nicotine the warning will state that the product is made from tobacco.

The American Heart Association/American Stroke Foundation and the American Lung Association have applauded the FDA for taking this action toward protecting public health. Not surprisingly, the e-cigarette market has been critical of the ruling stating that, among other criticisms, the regulations will be too costly for e-cigarette markets to comply with due to their smaller size.

The final regulation can be found here.

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May is National Physical Fitness and Sports Month

May 2, 2016

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Are you one of the 95% of adults that do not participate in 30 minutes of physical activity every day? If so, get moving. May is National Physical Fitness and Sports Month and a great time to incorporate regular exercise into your daily routine. Physical activity can improve muscular fitness, bone health and prevent chronic diseases. But did you know that physical activity can also improve cognitive functioning, relieve stress and improve mood? Aim for 30 minutes of physical activity every day and muscle-strengthening activities at least 2 days a week. Sound daunting? You don’t have to be an athlete to be active.potus_fitness_symbol

Rise to the President’s challenge-make physical activity part of your life! There are plenty of options to incorporate physical activity into your daily routine whether it is a lunch-time walk, taking the stairs or working out with a trainer, just find what works for you.

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Savor the Flavor of Eating Right

March 1, 2016

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March is National Nutrition Month. National Nutrition Month is an educational campaign promoted by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The Academy uses this campaign as a way to promote Registered Dietitians as the experts in the field of nutrition and share the most scientifically-based food and nutrition information to the public. This year, the month-long campaign focuses on the importance of making informed food choices and developing healthy habits for eating and physical activity. The theme for 2016 is “Savor the Flavor of Eating Right,” which reminds Americans to take the time to enjoy food and appreciate the flavors, pleasures, and social experiences that food adds to our lives.

Mindfulness is Key

What we eat is important, but how, when, why and where we eat also affects wellbeing. In order to create a solid foundation for a healthy eating pattern, it is essential to look at all aspects involving food, rather than focusing just on food. Often times, food is eaten because of a situation not because of true hunger. People eat out of habit, because it’s social, or as a way to help release emotions. This is where mindfulness around food is key. One way to be mindful around food is to stop, take 2 to 3 deep breathes, and ask yourself these questions: How am I feeling? Am I bored, tired, angry? Why am I choosing this food? Am I truly hungry or am I seeking comfort? Simply slowing down and acknowledging the feelings around food can create a stronger foundation for healthy eating patterns.

Developing Healthy Habits

Every individual is unique. There is not one healthy eating pattern or exercise program that works for everyone. Whatever it may be, stick with making small changes daily. These changes will soon become habits. Here are some changes to get you started:

Healthy Habits for Food and Exercise

  1. Prepare meals at home. Cooking meals at home controls the ingredients and the amounts that go into the food.
  2. Don’t over think it. Instead of counting calories and tracking every step, avoid processed foods and focus on freshness, color, and variety.
  3. Use a smaller plate. By portioning food on a small plate, it will look like a full plate and there is less of a chance to over serve.
  4. Ask for a to-go box. When dining out, serving sizes can be 2-3 times what is needed. Ask for a to-go box at the beginning of the meal and portion half into the box. The whole meal is less likely to get eaten if it is already packaged away.
  5. Reduce the sugar. Cutting the sugar can do wonders for the waistline. Always read the labels since prepared foods often have hidden sugars. It is often best to choose the lower sugar option.
  6. Schedule a workout – When a workout is scheduled most individuals are likely to commit.
  7. Try an exercise class. Trying different classes can help relieve boredom or can be a starting point for those who do not know where to begin.
  8. Find a workout buddy. Partnering up and holding each other accountable can ease the fears of trying something new.
  9. Squeeze in the time. Workouts do not have to be long. Breaking up the time into a couple shorter segments can help. For instance, walk for 10 minutes during a lunch break and 20 minutes before heading home.
  10. No “too tired” excuse. Exercise is energizing. After 10 minutes, blood is flowing, muscles are warm, and the body is taking in more oxygen. Once started, the workouts often last longer and leave the individual feeling better afterward.

Information contributed by Jessica Kelley, a dietetic intern at St. Louis University. Jessica spent time at J.W. Terrill learning about community nutrition and corporate wellness.

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