Small-business owners' most pressing wellness concerns include stress and employees' sick days, as identified through a recent study of more than 1,000 small-business owners and decision-makers. High employee stress ranks No. 1.
If you work for a small business, there is a good chance that your employer doesn't have a health and wellness program in place. Only 22 percent of small businesses offer their employees access to such options. But among those that do, 85 percent think these types of offerings are worth the investment. Three in four say such programs enhance their profits.
So why aren't more small business owners embracing wellness initiatives as bottom-line boosters? (Wellness initiatives are considered those that encourage employees to make healthier choices such as getting preventive care, eating right and exercising.)
However, despite these obstacles, interest among small business owners in considering and providing health and wellness initiatives actually is on the rise. Younger businesses were reportedly more likely to have health and wellness programs in place than businesses older than 10 years, the Humana-NSBA study reveals.
"Workplace wellness programs can play a big role in keeping health care accessible and affordable for employers and employees," says NSBA President Todd McCracken.
There seems to be little question that health and wellness programs pay off for employees. For every $1 spent on worksite health-promotion programs, a company sees an average of $3.50 in savings related to fewer sick days, more productive work time, and reduced health care costs, according to research from the Partnership for Prevention.
A study by the Yale University School of Medicine found that ingestion of glucose, but not fructose, decreased blood flow to and activity in the area of the brain that regulates hunger and caused a rise in hormones that regulate feelings of fullness. Researchers believe that the difference between the body's reactions to glucose and fructose provides insight into one of the possible causes of the obesity epidemic. Fructose is an ingredient in most processed food, mostly through the ingredient high fructose corn syrup.
While it may sound simple, one of the best ways to stay healthy and prevent the spread of germs is to wash your hands regularly with soap and water. Especially during the flu season, washing your hands thoroughly is important to staying healthy. If you're traveling and you don't have access to clean water and soap, an alcohol-based hand sanitizer is the next best thing.
Number to Know
127.1 million: Approximate number of flu vaccines doses distributed so far this flu season.
Boomer Health: Focusing on diabetes
In the U.S., there are nearly 26 million people living with diabetes and more seniors have diabetes than any other age group - 10.9 million, or 26.9 percent, of all people 65 and older.
In 2012 the American Diabetes Association launched its Senior Signature Series. The series looks to expand education and outreach efforts to seniors across the country. The series includes half-day educational events for individuals 50 and older to learn more about diabetes, numerous resources, helpful materials and health screenings. Its goal is to educate older adults about how they can reduce their risk of diabetes and its complications. Because of its great success in 2012, the series will be back in 2013, and will include even more dates and locations across the country.
One way to reduce your risk of developing diabetes, or to better manage it, is physical activity. Benefits include:
Almost all older adults who develop diabetes have type 2 diabetes, and older adults with diabetes often have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, infections that heal slowly and they are at risk for heart attack, stroke and kidney failure. Seniors with diabetes are also more likely to have memory problems and depression. Awareness and education is critical in helping seniors to lead healthier lives.
GateHouse News Service