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Workplace Stress and Obesity: Fruits and Vegetables Fall Short of Exercise--and Watch Out for TV! (May 2010)

Posted By National Wellness Institute, Saturday, May 1, 2010
Updated: Friday, December 28, 2012
A 2010 study done at the University of Rochester Medical Center showed chronic job stress and lack of physical activity are strongly associated with being overweight or obese.

Of note, researchers found a diet rich in fruits and vegetables did little to offset the effect of chronic job stress on weight gain among the most sedentary employees. In those cases, exercise was the key to managing stress and keeping a healthy weight. The study looked at 2,782 upstate New York manufacturing facility employees.

The lead study author, Diana Fernandez, M.D., M.P.H., Ph.D, agreed the study is among many associating stress with cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome, depression, exhaustion, anxiety and weight gain. She advocates better corporate health policies especially in a poor economy when stress is a constant factor.

The upstate New York workplace mirrored the national statistics. Researchers collected baseline data from the nearly 2,800 employees, using body mass index (BMI) as the measurement for weight status. Overweight/obesity was defined as BMI greater than 24.9, and healthy/underweight was defined as less than 24.9.

They found that 72 to 75 percent of the employees were overweight or obese. Most of the study volunteers were middle-aged, white, married, highly educated (college degree or more), relatively well-paid (earning more than $60,000 a year), with an average of almost 22 years at the company.

Another important statistic: More than 65 percent of the employees said they watched two or more hours of television per day. Among those who reported watching two to three hours, 77 percent were more likely to be overweight or obese, and those who watched four or more hours of TV a day increased their odds of obesity by 150 percent, compared to people who watched less than two hours of daily TV.

In addition, investigators discovered employees working in the most high-job-strain conditions had almost one BMI unit more of weight than people who worked in more passive areas. Researchers did not find that chronic stressors (general dissatisfaction at work) and acute stressors (being a layoff survivor, or having entire operations decommissioned) together had a larger effect on weight than when examined independently.

The study concluded workplace wellness programs should not only offer ideas on how to be healthy, but should examine the organizational structure and provide ways to minimize a stressful environment for everyone.

Source: University of Rochester Medical Center, http://www.urmc.rochester.edu/news/story/index.cfm?id=2803

Tags:  Diet  Exercise  May 2010  Obesity  Occupational  Physical  Stress  Work 

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Behavior Change Resource Series: Social (May 2010)

Posted By National Wellness Institute, Saturday, May 1, 2010
Updated: Friday, December 28, 2012

Social, this dimension of wellness encompasses the concepts of beneficial impacts, communication, and actions within the communities and environments we coexist in. Consider the different communities you are a part of and the environments in which you participate.

To get a better idea of all that you impact and that impacts you, begin to examine your life in the environments where you spend the most time and move towards environments you rarely spend time in, for example: home, work, public spaces, and nature. You can even consider the environments which you rarely are in, for example: a once a year vacation spot. Environments describe more than the natural environment of the earth we live in. Environments are different in our homes than they are at our jobs. Some actions may be acceptable or commonplace in one but not the other.

Next examine the different communities you contribute to and are affected by. Your: family and friends, neighborhood, town or city, state, nationality. These communities also cover different groups you might be a part of. These could include: support groups, sports groups or teams, religious affiliation, even communities which seem to have little to do with your life can affect you. An example would be the friend of your spouse. They may not be your friend directly but if your spouse discusses friends with you then they are impacting your life.

These exercises will give you a better picture of how wide your web is and what environments and communities might have an effect on you. It is very important to try to increase the quality of communication in our communities and the impact of our actions on our environments.

Test your environmental impact at: http://www.myfootprint.org/en/. Once you have taken the quiz, be sure to visit Reduce Your Footprint for ideas to lessen your impact at: http://www.myfootprint.org/en/take_action/reduce_your_footprint//.

This website gives some great tips on successful communication with others: http://www.ncsu.edu/health_promotion/Stress/communication.html

This website: http://www.helpguide.org/mental/eq6_nonverbal_communication.htm addresses nonverbal communication skills.

The National Wellness Institute offers the following tenets to strive for physical wellness:

  • It is better to contribute to the common welfare of our community than to think only of ourselves.
  • It is better to live in harmony with others and our environment than to live in conflict with them.

Tags:  Behavior Change  May 2010  Social 

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Quotes (May 2010)

Posted By National Wellness Institute, Saturday, May 1, 2010
Updated: Friday, December 28, 2012

There are many great events occurring in May. Among them, Older Americans Month, brough to us by the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, Administration on Aging at www.aoa.dhhs.gov and Better Sleep Month, brought to us by The Better Sleep Council atwww.bettersleep.org. For more information on these events and a complete Health Observances Calendar visit www.nationalwellness.org.

No day is so bad it can't be fixed with a nap. – Carrie Snow

People who say they sleep like a baby usually don't have one. – Leo J. Burke

A good laugh and a long sleep are the best cures in the doctor's book. – Irish Proverb

Many things--such as loving, going to sleep, or behaving unaffectedly--are done worst when we try hardest to do them. – C.S. Lewis

A well-spent day brings happy sleep. – Leonardo da Vinci

[Sleep is] the golden chain that ties health and our bodies together. – Thomas Dekker

The best bridge between despair and hope is a good night's sleep – Anonymous

Problems always look smaller after a warm meal and a good night's sleep – Anonymous

Laugh and the world laughs with you, snore and you sleep alone. – Anthony Burgess

Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don't mind, it doesn't matter – Mark Twain

Nobody grows old merely by living a number of years. We grow old by deserting our ideals. Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul – Samuel Ullman

Growing old is mandatory; growing up is optional. – Chili Davis

Wrinkles should merely indicate where smiles have been. – Mark Twain

Man is not old until regrets take the place of dreams. – John Barrymore

Everyone is the age of their heart. – Guatemalan Proverb

I still have a full deck; I just shuffle slower now. – Author Unknown

Men do not quit playing because they grow old; they grow old because they quit playing. – Oliver Wendell Holmes

Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. – Henry Ford

Tags:  Aging  Inspiration  May 2010  Physical  Quotes  Sleep  Social 

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Fun Facts (May 2010)

Posted By National Wellness Institute, Saturday, May 1, 2010
Updated: Friday, December 28, 2012

There are many great events occurring in May. Among them, Older Americans Month, brough to us by the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, Administration on Aging at www.aoa.dhhs.gov and Better Sleep Month, brought to us by The Better Sleep Council atwww.bettersleep.org. For more information on these events and a complete Health Observances Calendar visit www.nationalwellness.org.

Increase your odds of living 12 years longer!

A recent study appearing April 26 in the Archives of Medicine, done over a 20-year period on 4,886 adults (18 years and older), concluded that individuals who don't smoke, or have quit; women who had less than two alcoholic beverages daily and men who have less than three; individuals who get more than two hours of physical activity a week; and those who eat fruits and vegetables more than three times a day lived an average of 12 years longer.

The healthy behaviors work together and, combined, lead to an overall healthier outcome.

TANNER, L., (April 26, 2010) Yahoo! Health: Diet & Fitness, Mind & Mood, Longevity, Conditions & Diseases, & Drug Guide. Bad habits can age you by 12 years, study suggests" Retrieved April 26, 2010 from .

Are You Sleeping?

It's impossible to tell if someone is really awake without close medical supervision. People can take catnaps with their eyes open without even being aware of it.

Some Zzzz's

Anything less than five minutes to fall asleep at night means you're sleep deprived. The ideal is between 10 and 15 minutes, meaning you're still tired enough to sleep deeply, but not so exhausted you feel sleepy by day.

A Bundle of Joy

A new baby typically results in 400 to 750 hours of lost sleep for parents in the first year.

Sweet Dreams

Dreams, once thought to occur only during REM sleep, also occur (but to a lesser extent) in non-REM sleep phases. It's possible there may not be a single moment of our sleep when we are actually dreamless.

Stay Alert

Seventeen hours of sustained wakefulness leads to a decrease in performance equivalent to a blood alcohol-level of 0.05%.

Who Knew?

The extra hour of sleep received when clocks are turned back at the end of daylight saving time has been found to coincide with a fall in the number of road accidents.

All Above: http://www.achooallergy.com/interesting-sleep-facts.asp

Nap Time

Daytime naps improve memory! They also help you remember important facts and cut risk of heart disease.

Squidoo, http://www.squidoo.com/fun-facts-about-sleep

The Good Life

Current retirees are more interested in an active life, including continuing to work, than their parents' generation.

Buzzle, http://www.buzzle.com/editorials/10-6-2001-5119.asp

Give Back

15 million older persons volunteer, nearly half the 65-plus population in the U.S.

Buzzle, http://www.buzzle.com/editorials/10-6-2001-5119.asp

Livin' it Up!

The overall difference in life expectancy at birth in the United States is about 7 years (i.e., 72 for men vs. 79 for women); and at every age women, on average, can expect to live longer than men.

Psych Central, http://psychcentral.com/lib/2006/facts-about-aging/

Tags:  Aging  Fun Facts  May 2010  Physical  Sleep 

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Health Care Reform and Health Promotion/Wellness (April 2010)

Posted By National Wellness Institute, Thursday, April 1, 2010
Updated: Friday, December 28, 2012

Whether you agree with Health Care Reform or not, the changes will take place over the next four years. It's important to understand how the new laws will affect your families, communities, and careers. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (H.R. 3590) encompasses 906 pages that cover a vast range of health topics. Health promotion and disease prevention are covered in multiple sections of the bill. Here are some important changes you should be aware of:

  • The President is required to establish the National Prevention, Health Promotion, and Public Health Council. The purpose of the council is to develop a national prevention, health promotion, and public health strategy.
  • A Prevention and Public Health Fund will be established to provide for expanded and sustained national investment in prevention and public health programs to improve health and help slow the rate of growth in private and public sector health care costs.
  • The Preventive Services Task Force will meet to review scientific evidence related to the effectiveness, appropriateness, and cost-effectiveness of clinical preventive services for the purpose of developing recommendations for the health care community.
  • The Secretary is required to provide planning and implementation of a national public-private partnership for a prevention and health promotion outreach and education campaign to raise public awareness of health improvement across the life span.
  • Medicaid will provide coverage for preventive services and vaccines.
  • Medicaid will cover smoking cessation resources for pregnant women.
  • Grants will be awarded to state and local governmental agencies and community-based organizations for the implementation, evaluation, and dissemination of evidence-based community preventive health activities in order to reduce chronic disease rates, prevent the development of secondary conditions, address health disparities, and develop a stronger evidence base of effective prevention programming.
  • Retail fast-food chains with 20 or more locations are required to place a sign that lists calories per serving adjacent to each food item offered.
  • The director of the CDC is required to provide employers with technical assistance, consultation, tools, and other resources in evaluating employer-based wellness programs and to conduct a national worksite health policies and programs survey to assess employer-based health policies and programs.
  • Funds will be allocated to carry out childhood obesity prevention projects.

This is only a brief outline of how wellness will be affected. To learn more go to www.thomas.gov. Do what is necessary to make sure your community or organization gets the funding needed to provide health promotion initiatives.

Tags:  April 2010  Emotional  Healthcare  Intellectual  Occupational  Physical  Policy 

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