Approach Employee Health Holistically (You Can’t Afford Not To!)

There are multiple determinants to health. And you do want to address as many as you can through your work site wellness program, correct?

Essentially, in the workplace setting, employee health is determined as a function of individual practices, organizational practices and the greater community in which the organization resides. In order to approach employee health holistically then, the workplace wellness program must address these three levels.

Individual Health Determinants

Researchers estimate that the individual determinants of health account for up to an estimated 40% of how healthy an individual is. At the individual level, biology, genetics, age and gender all impact individual health. Researchers estimate that these physiological determinants of health account for approximately 10% of how healthy an individual is.

Researchers have also found that an individual’s experiences in childhood impact how healthy they are in adulthood. Experiencing trauma in childhood adversely influences how healthy they are in adulthood.

Individual lifestyle factors, personal health practices and coping skills also play a significant role in how healthy an individual is. Researchers estimate that these could account for up to 40% of how healthy an individual is.

The traditional approach to worksite wellness has typically focused on individual health and lifestyle factors and personal health practices in particular.

Organization Determinants of Health

Researchers have clearly established that a person’s health is also determined by social and economic factors, as well as individual factors. These are commonly classified as the social determinants of health. Research has estimated that the social determinants of health account for between 15 – 40% of how healthy the individual is.

Management practices in the workplace contribute significantly to employee health and wellbeing. Management practices can either contribute to or detract from employee health and wellbeing.

The work environment clearly influences and impacts the health and psychosocial wellbeing of employees. There is extensive evidence on the connection between the workplace and employee health and wellbeing. Many workplace conditions profoundly influence employee behavior, health and wellbeing.

If the workplace is unhealthy, why would we ever expect employees to be healthy? It is for this reason that effective, successful 21st century worksite wellness programs focus just as much on organizational health, as they do individual employee health.

Community Determinants of Health

Employees and employers do not exist in isolation. Both are influenced by the community in which they live, work, play and operate. Typical community determinants of health include the physical environment (air quality, water quality, sanitation, etc.), the social environment and the cultural environment. Included in the environment is access to healthcare and social services.

While healthy employees are good for an employer, healthy work places are good for the community. Being seen as a great place to work is good for the employer, but also good for the community. The more great places to work there are in the community, the healthier the community will be.

Through corporate social responsibility type initiatives, employers are also contributing to the health of the community.

Worksite wellness in the 21st century is more than just a focus on the health status of employees. Worksite wellness encompasses programming and interventions at the organizational and community levels as well.

Health Benefits of Apple’s New Watch

Apple’s Wearable Fitness Technology

Online retail sites and in-store shelves are packed with a steady stream of fitness accessories. It’s usually the same type of thing over and over again with a different brand name. Workout DVDs that promote the “best” workout routines for men and women, workout equipment that is probably overpriced, and sites that offer online personal trainers (a service I’ll never buy into).

Every once in a while, something comes along and blows me away. It could be a service, a product, or the integration of a new idea into something old. Large companies are constantly brainstorming to uncover the secret combination of marketing and common sense that will give them access to the inner workings of the average buyer’s brain and wallet.

Brave New World: Wearable Fitness Technology

News, blogs, and social networking sites are all raving over the upcoming release of the new Apple Watch. The new Apple Watch will allow users to access much more than just time keeping (an area that they’ve somehow revolutionized as well).

What’s more personal than your health? Apple thinks that health is about as personal as it gets. The new Apple watch, with all of its wonders, includes an extensive Health and Fitness setting. While this addition may spell doom for many fitness centers, it’s a giant leap in the realm of fitness technologies.

The Three Rings of Apple

The graphic that comes up on the face of the watch includes three rings. These three rings display an overview of the day’s activities.

The display is easy to access and provides information regarding:

• Movement

• Exercise, and

• Standing time.

Recent studies have shown that users respond well to simplicity. Apple has taken advantage of these findings. As we’ll discover, these three simple rings will cover a wide range of activities!

The Movement Ring

The move ring begins empty. When you first buy the watch and begin tinkering with the settings, you’ll set up a personal Move goal for the week. The Apple watch will assist you in creating attainable goals for each day of the coming week. The move ring will fill up and close once you’ve completed your Move goal of the day. More on goals shortly.

The Exercise Ring

While the new Apple watch includes a “dedicated workout” mode which allows users to set up a personalized workout for the day or the week, the Exercise ring works in any mode. Anytime you begin movement that is on the level of a brisk walk or higher, the Exercise ring begins recording the movement. The universal recommendation is at least 30 minutes of exercise per day. For this reason, the Apple watch’s Exercise ring will fill up and close out for the day once you’ve reached 30 minutes of exercise.

The Stand Ring

The Stand ring allows the Apple watch to credit you when you’ve stood or walked around. If you sit on your rump for close to an hour, the new Apple watch will alert you and insist that you stand up and walk around. As long as you stand up for 1 minute an hour for 12 hours, the Stand ring will fill up and close, crediting you for the day.

Personalized Goals

The Apple watch will record your activity over time and will personalize itself to accommodate your level of exercise and activity. You can personalize goals for the week, and each day the Apple watch will assist and encourage you to meet the day’s goal. It keeps track of your progress and credits you throughout the week for participation. Apple has essentially created a personal trainer for your wrist.

Extra Accessories

• The Accelerometer:

o The new Apple watch includes an accelerometer that measures body movements and steps throughout the day. The accelerometer allows the watch to differentiate a walk from a jog or run. With this information, the watch give you an accurate reading on the number of calories you’ve burned throughout the day.

• The Heart Rate Sensor:

o The heart rate sensor allows the Apple watch to monitor your heart rate when you’re working out. Whenever you’re not working out, the watch utilizes the accelerometer, GPS, and Wi-Fi from your phone to determine your movements.

• GPS and Wi-Fi:

o With the use of Wi-Fi from your smart phone, and GPS from satellites high above the earth, the Apple watch delivers a level or accuracy that is second to none. This watch will revolutionize your life. It doesn’t matter if you’re walking to the mail box, or jogging down the street, the Apple watch will give you encouraging feedback and monitor your physical improvements.

Work Out Mode

The Apple watch’s workout mode will provide encouragement and accurate monitoring before, during, and after each day’s workout. The watch:

• Suggests goals and monitors user set goals throughout the day and week

• Gives accurate and helpful Progress Updates throughout the workout, and

• Provides a complete workout summary upon the conclusion of your exercise.

The Apple watch stands to provide motivation and assist wearers worldwide in getting into shape. Many of our jobs mandate that we sit or stand in the same spot for hours on end each day, week after week and month after month. Apple is providing us with a helpful wrist buddy to keep us moving all day long.

The Health Benefits of Scrabble

Scrabble is a popular family game for all ages, this article looks at the benefits of scrabble for kids and adults alike.

Scrabble was invented by Alfred Mosher Butts back in nineteen forty-eight, and since then it’s been a favorite game for generations of families. Not only is Scrabble a great educational tool to build word ability and comprehension, but it aids in lateral thinking and vocabulary enhancement.

Scrabble has surpassed several other competing word games in popularity over the years, and has found a new life in online word game such as Words with Friends for entirely new generations of people. With the advent of the internet, a whole range of additional tutorial, tip, and tricks have found their way into common availability. There are several experts who devote their time to producing a scrabble dictionary, word lists or cheat hints to develop players from beginners into advanced gamers who can compete in tournaments and online competitions.

The health benefits for children are numerous, from developing an excellent vocabulary to the ability to critically weigh different strategies. It’s a great skill to teach a child to think beyond the immediate gratification of creating a word now, versus holding your letters in order to play a longer and higher scoring word later. In addition to these benefits, the ability to patiently see a game through to the end is an invaluable asset which will help a child in life in general.

The mental concentration required to puzzle through different word options in Scrabble also puts the brain into a meditative state much like taking a class of yoga or meditating. Taking this time to deliberately relax and engage in some mental exercise is a great way to reduce stress and anxiety. Although this is great for general relaxation in the evening, one recommendation that has been made is that you should not play scrabble too soon before retiring for the night, as it’ll leave your brain in a ‘puzzle’ state for an hour or two and make it more difficult to sleep. Scrabble is a very analytical game which is similar to solving a Sudoku puzzle or playing a pen and paper game such as hangman.

Ginger Health Benefits: Many Conditions Remedied by 5,000 Year-Old Spice

Ginger is not only a spice that has been used for centuries by Asian and Indian cultures; it is also one of the most effective medicinal foods in existence. Ginger has a warm, mildly spicy flavor and it is used as tea, as a seasoning for seafood and stir-fry dishes, as a powder in nutritional supplements, and as a spice for sauces and baked goods.

New studies are confirming what has been known about ginger for over 5,000 years – It remedies nausea, arthritis, migraines, premenstrual syndrome and upset stomach, and enhances brain function and memory.

Ginger for Nausea

A British Medical Journal did a review of several studies that were done on the benefits of ginger for nausea and vomiting. The researchers found that the studies on ginger for seasickness, morning sickness and chemotherapy-induced nausea, showed positive results for ginger and found it effective.

Relief of Premenstrual Syndrome from Ginger

For women with PMS, scientists at the University of Medical Sciences in Tehran, Iran compared ginger capsules with two different kinds of anti-inflammatory drugs. 150 women participated and they were divided into three groups. Those in the ginger group took 250 mg. capsules of ginger root powder. Members of the other groups received anti-inflammatory drugs (mefenamic acid or ibuprofen capsules).

The women’s severity of symptoms, pain relief, and satisfaction with the treatment were compared between the groups after one menstrual period. At the end of the five-month study, ginger was shown to be as effective as the drugs with relieving pain and providing relief.

Ginger for Enhanced Cognitive Abilities (reasoning, thinking and remembering)

The Journal of Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine published a study aimed at determining the effect of ginger extract on the cognitive function of 60 healthy middle-aged women. After taking either a placebo or ginger throughout the study period, the women were evaluated with a series of tests that reviewed their working memory, decision making ability and other mental functions.

They discovered that the ginger group had increased mental abilities and enhanced working memory and that ginger is an effective cognitive enhancer for middle-aged women.

Ginger for Arthritis

Arthritis causes pain, swelling, and reduced motion in joints. It can occur in any joint, but usually it affects hands, knees, hips or spine.

Osteoarthritis breaks down the cartilage in the joints. Cartilage is the slippery tissue that covers the ends of bones in a joint. Healthy cartilage absorbs the shock of movement, but when cartilage is lost, the bones rub together which can damage the joint.

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease, which means the arthritis results from the immune system attacking the body’s own tissues. It can affect body parts besides the joints, such as the eyes, mouth and lungs.

A recent study published in the journal “Arthritis” has found that a standardized ginger extract is as effective as the anti-inflammatory drug betamethasone for both types of arthritis, but without the many side effects the drug is known for (fluid accumulation, nausea, adrenal gland suppression, insomnia and depression).

Healthy Eating Plan

One of the biggest health concerns that most developed countries experience today is obesity. This is simply saying it needs more awareness and education. It is not that hard to overcome this with some knowledge and just a little bit of will power. Most of the people in this situation are just oblivious or don’t understand the facts, that this is possible only through changes. It is proven fact that the biggest percentage of illness and diseases is food related.

Being overweight can lead to dramatic health complications such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, which can become fatal later in life. Secondary to that, health concerns like hypertension and even osteoarthritis develop due to excess weight. For many people looking at quick fixes such as diet pills etc. this will be of no benefit. There are these health conditions associated with obesity and the best way to change it is with a healthy eating plan. Yes, it all begins in disciplining your attitude towards food, because correct food is mainly consumed as the body’s fuel. In fact, even people who don’t need to lose weight should consider a healthy eating plan.

Why? Because this helps them from developing metabolic disorders later on. If you start right with your food intake, then you need not worry about blood chemistry results later in your life. While most of your peers would complain of soaring blood sugar levels or high uric acid, you would still be eating any food you want. So, what is the key to a healthy eating plan? Here are some pointers worth considering that can lead to a healthy lifestyle.

• Choose natural food sources. Simple food, because it should mainly supply your body’s needs for growth and repair. This would mean avoiding processed foods heavily laden with sodium, sugars and who knows what other additives. Preserved food like canned goods is also included and better be avoided. Although do not confuse this with fermented food. Include plenty of them to your healthy eating plan; fermented food has many health benefits. Preservatives are not suitable for human consumption, especially when ingested for a long period.

• Detoxify your body once in a while. This could mean fasting for a day using home-made juice and fruits; however, prolonged periods of fasting can cause electrolyte imbalance so be careful about this. Detoxification must also involve exercise because our body detoxifies when we perspire. Some sort of exercise is necessary every day, no matter how little; of course more is always better.

• Hydrate well. This is a must for any healthy eating plan. You can stuff yourself with food but water is primarily responsible for bringing nutrients to the cells. Drinking several glasses of water a day ensures better metabolism and digestion, although drink the water between meals and not with meals, especially hot meals. Food is useless when it is not properly digested and eliminated by the body.

• Drink alcohol moderately. The kidney along with the liver is responsible for filtering unwanted substances in the body. Most of the unhealthy substances you put in your body system is part of your choice. So, if you burden your organs with dangerous substances aside from alcohol, health consequences are not far behind. Although to have a glass of red wine with your meal is not only just enjoyable also of benefit. Red wine is known for its antioxidants benefits, as well a substance found in red wine called Resveratol that acts as a calorie restriction mimic.

• Educate yourself. Learn about healthy eating habits by checking the new food pyramid. Better yet, consult a dietician or nutritionist, as well there is lots of information available to help making better food choices.

Every person has a unique nutritional need based on her or his genetics and existing lifestyle. Hence, a sound healthy eating plan begins by understanding your needs and your body. Listen to your body, take note of the reactions from your body, because no one else knows your body like you do. Aside from proper food intake, improved wellness is a certainty when pursuing an active lifestyle. You feel stronger and more energetic when you exercise. Couple a good workout program such as walking before breakfast with a healthy eating plan and you will see results in a short time. For being consistent with your good habits your body will reward you for it. Transform your life by feeling good inside and out. Start today and enjoy a new life, you’ll most likely wonder why you haven’t started sooner.

Health Insurance Policy

With the rising medical cost, health insurance has become indispensable. Today, costs of medical treatment has reached at an all time high and are expected to rise even further. Absence of health insurance can cause a major setback to your financial condition. Medical emergencies like accidents, sickness or disease which may lead to prolonged hospitalization can bring you in severe financial crisis. A comprehensive health insurance individual policy provides coverage against the expenditure caused by unforeseen medical emergencies.

When it comes to buy a health plan for yourself, there are two common mistakes that people generally commit:

1. Often people don’t purchase an appropriate health policy at the right time. When met with an accident or any other disease, they come to realize their mistake and to over-compensate it they buy too much of insurance, which may or may not be that much useful for them.

2. A majority of professionals are provided medical insurance plans by their organizations. Employees are very much dependent on such covers to counter their health emergencies and fail to evaluate their health insurance requirements.

Importance of Personal Health Cover

1. Insurance Cover Provided By Present Health Care Policy

Most of the companies provide a basic health cover to its employees which may cover individuals from minor illness, giving a decent amount of coverage. Often this amount is insufficient in times of a major emergency. So, it is necessary that individuals prepare themselves for any health contingencies and get an health insurance individual policy.

2. Validity Of Insurance Provided By The Organization

The insurance plan provided by the organization is valid upto the time you are associated with the organization and lapses once you leave it. In case of retirement, job change or job loss, individuals have no health insurance cover and have to liquidate their assets or savings to meet any medical emergency. This may also affect their budget and further financial plans.

3. Tax Benefit

Opting a health cover also helps in tax saving. The amount paid for insurance premiums are eligible for tax deductions. Individuals with 65 years or below of age can claim a deduction of Rs 15,000 against the insurance premium paid for themselves, or for their parents, spouse or children.