American Heart Association
Am Heart Month (2)

February is Heart Health Month

Feb. 9, 2022
How can employers help employees stay healthy?

As attention this month is focused on heart health, let’s start with a few statistics.

An American Heart Association report from January 26, 2022, found the following:

  • Cardiovascular disease, listed as the underlying cause of death, accounted for 874,613 deaths in the United States in 2019.
  • Approximately every 40 seconds, someone in the United States will have a myocardial infarction.
  • On average in 2019, someone died of a stroke every 3 minutes 30 seconds in the United States.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that stroke, heart attack, and hypertension, is the leading cause of death in the United States accounting for 1 in every 4 deaths in the country.

To help turns these grim stats around the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute offers this advice:

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, but there’s a lot you can do to prevent it. Taking time to care for your heart can be challenging as you go about daily life. But it’s easier than you think to show your heart the love it deserves each day. Small acts of self-care, like taking walks, getting quality sleep, and cooking healthy meals, help your heart. Research shows that self-care can help you keep your blood pressure in a healthy range and reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke.

The organization also points out that there are obstacles to self-care which are:

  • Lack of confidence in one’s ability to make a change
  • Depression
  •  Having more than one health concern If you want to boost your confidence, or if you struggle with a mental health disorder, seek support of family and friends, or talk to a qualified mental health provider

How Can Employers Help

The  CDC offers an employer toolkit, which includes a guide called, " Reducing the Risk of Heart Disease and Stroke: A Six-Step Guide for Employers."  

The CDC offers these keys to program success:

  •  Senior management commitment and buy-in from middle managers.
  •  Medical and human resources support for the program.
  •  A champion and a committed health promotion planning committee or team. • “Healthy company” messages and an environment that supports healthy lifestyles.
  •  Frequent and regular contact with employees throughout the organization.
  •  Linkage and integration with human resources and other employee benefits.
  •  Access to a wide variety of health promotion programs and services. • Incentives to motivate employees to participate in the health promotion programs.
  •  Effective targeting of high-risk individuals.
  •  Cardiovascular health promotion program goals linked to business objectives.
  •  Effective planning, continuity, and follow-through on all program activities.
  •  Ongoing evaluation that reports on health and quality of life improvements, cost reductions, and ROI goals

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