Trim the Fat: National Workplace Wellness Week wraps up Saturday

Maria Hoover, SBJ Features EditorWeight change this week*: +0.4 Total: -10.6

More than one-third of the U.S. working-age population is at risk for chronic illnesses as a result of physical inactivity and obesity. The American Heart Association’s National Workplace Wellness Week, April 5–11, encourages physical activity where many adults spend most of their waking hours – work.

Employers stand to benefit from having healthier workers. According to the AHA, obesity-related health issues cost $117 billion a year, and three chronic conditions – asthma, diabetes and hypertension – result in 164 million lost U.S. workdays to the tune of $30 million in employer costs.

While AHA focuses on improving heart health year-round, this week the organization puts much of its focus on encouraging all employers to invest in employees’ health by creating and implementing worksite wellness programs and sharing best practices with other companies.

There are some programs, such as AHA’s Start! program, that are free and available for companies that want to help employees get exercise and provide health-related education. But regardless of how companies structure their employee fitness programs, before, after or during work, it’s important to note that a brisk walk of just 30 minutes a day can help lower chronic disease risk factors.

April 8 would have been a great day to take a walk: National Start! Walking Day was observed. Even though I missed out on taking a walk April 8, these statistics are motivating me to figure out a way to get in a few regular walks each week. Walking is free; in exchange for my time and energy, I get fresh air, better blood pressure readings and hopefully, in the long run, better overall health.

Weekly update:
*In the interest of full disclosure, I should note that I’m not sure my current weight change is accurate, as I’ve not had an official weigh-in for several weeks, due to time commitments, a scheduled weeklong vacation and – let’s be honest – a bit of reluctance on my part, because I’ve not been as diligent in my efforts as I should be.

Spending a week with my kids on spring break was a wonderful treat, but boy, it was rough on the ol’ diet. The thing about kids is, they are ALWAYS hungry, and I joined in way too much!

Nevertheless, I plan to visit Weight Watchers Saturday to assess the damage and get back on course. If you have any words of wisdom regarding getting back on the healthy eating wagon, please share them in the responses section below.

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