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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States. While there are some risk factors that contribute to heart disease that you can’t control, there are also many things you can do to preserve your heart health.

Heart Disease Risk Factors

Here’s a list of largely preventable factors that increase your risk of heart disease:

  • Having high blood pressure
  • Having high cholesterol
  • Smoking or drinking alcohol
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Having a waist measurement greater than 40 inches (for men) or 35 inches (for women)
  • Having an inactive lifestyle
  • Having Type 2 diabetes
  • Keeping a poor diet high in saturated fat and cholesterol
  • Experiencing excess stress

Mitigating Your Risks

Use these tips to take control of your risks:

  • Do not smoke or use drugs.
  • Drink alcohol in moderation.
  • Maintain a healthy weight and get regular exercise.
  • Follow a low-fat, low-cholesterol diet.
  • Limit your sodium intake to between 1,500 and 2,400 milligrams per day.
  • Keep your stress levels under control.
  • Schedule regular medical checkups with your primary care physician.
  • your blood pressure and cholesterol checked regularly.

Activities and Programs

Improving heart health can be as simple as regular exercise (like taking a daily walk) and eating heart-healthy foods. However, finding the motivation for these activities can be challenging. Here are three programs and activities you can implement to help your employees make healthier decisions.

  • Create opportunities at your business for your employees to participate in physical activities and good nutrition:
    • Promote healthy alternatives in cafeterias and vending machines. You can achieve this by contacting your food distributor and requesting healthier options—such as nuts, fresh and dried fruits, whole grains, and fewer microwavable meals.
    • Encourage some type of exercise. Your company does not need a gym or designated walking trails to help your employees stay healthy. Instead, you can encourage them to take a walk around the building during their breaks. By walking at least 6,000 steps every day, your employees can improve their health.
    • Place signs by elevators encouraging people to use the stairs. By taking the stairs each day, your employees can cut their risk of heart attacks in half.
  • Consider supporting your employees’ healthy choices by providing or reimbursing them for gym memberships. Your business may be unable to install a gym or walking trails near your office, so providing a discount for gym memberships may a good alternative.
  • Educate your employees on steps they can take to boost their heart health. You can do this by providing health risk assessments, medical screening and effective follow-up education and counseling. This may help employees better control their blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels, and it could help them quit smoking.

Healthier Employees Are More Productive Employees

Heart disease contributes to absences from work, poor performance and death. By motivating and empowering your employees to make smart health and wellness decisions, you can keep your health care costs low while also increasing productivity. Simple and straightforward initiatives, such as providing healthier vending machine options and health education, can make an impressive impact.

The Difference a Healthy Lifestyle Can Make

Combining regular physical activity with a healthy diet, adequate sleep, effective stress management and avoidance of tobacco slashes your risk of heart disease and premature death dramatically. By following this guidance, you can do your part to keep your heart healthy for years to come. For more lifestyle guidance, contact INSURICA today.

This is not intended to be exhaustive nor should any discussion or opinions be construed as legal advice. Readers should contact legal counsel or an insurance professional for appropriate advice. © 2023 Zywave, Inc. All rights reserved.

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