’Tis the Season for a Slice of Wellness Training

Originally posted November 29, 2013 by Chris Kilbourne on http://safetydailyadvisor.blr.com

At the beginning of this year's holiday season, take a moment to remind your employees that good nutrition is important to good health. Use the video in today's Advisor as a concise and fun way to drop nutrition reminders in among the holiday festivities.

In order to get the nutrition they need every day to stay healthy, employees must develop and maintain healthy eating habits. Here's a video that takes a light-hearted approach toward providing facts about nutrition and the important employee wellness topic of having healthy eating habits.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hv66ItR_F24&feature=player_embedded

I'm sure you’ve heard that good nutrition is important to good health. But how?

Well, good nutrition helps you in many important ways. For example, eating healthy food helps to prevent diseases like heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure and maintain a healthy weight.

In order to get the nutrition you need every day to stay healthy, you must develop and maintain healthy eating habits. Unfortunately, many Americans have very unhealthy eating habits.

Healthy eating means eating three nutritious meals a day, consuming reasonable portion sizes, limiting intake of fat, sugar, and salt, snacking sensibly between meals, avoiding fad diets, and balancing calorie intake with physical activity.

Proper nutrition depends on a well-balanced diet that includes carbohydrates, fiber, protein, and some unsaturated fat. Carbohydrates give your body the energy it needs to function effectively all day. Carbohydrates are found in fruits, vegetables, bread, cereal, pasta, rice, and milk and milk products. In fact, 45 percent to 65 percent of your daily calorie intake should come from carbohydrates. You also need about 14 grams of dietary fiber for every 1,000 calories you eat. Protein is another essential nutrient, and you should get 10 percent to 35 percent of daily calories from proteins.

Most Americans eat more protein than they really need to stay healthy. Protein is found in meat, poultry, fish, eggs, nuts, milk and milk products, grains, and some vegetables and fruits.

Some protein-rich foods such as meat are also high in fat and cholesterol. To keep healthy, you should consume less than 10 percent of your daily calorie intake as fat. Most of your fat intake should be unsaturated, as opposed to saturated, fat. Saturated fat is found in foods such as high-fat cheese, high-fat meat, butter, and ice cream.

Nuts, vegetable oil, and fish are good sources of poly- and monounsaturated fats.

Health experts also say you should consume less than 300 milligrams of cholesterol a day. Cholesterol is a fatty substance found in animal-based foods such as meat, eggs, and whole milk.

Sugar is found naturally in foods such as fruits, vegetables, and milk and milk products. Some foods include added sugar, and these foods are less nutritious than foods containing only natural sugar. To keep healthy, try to avoid added sugar, which provides no nutritional value and also contributes to tooth decay.

Also, remember that fluids, vitamins, and minerals are part of good nutrition, too. You need about eight glasses of water or other low-sugar fluids a day.

Finally, even though you've got a lot of great choices here in your fridge, I'm sure you eat out sometimes. When you do, remember to make healthy choices. Restaurant or takeout food can be high in fat, sugar, and salt, and low in required nutrients. When you eat food prepared outside your home, try to pick lower-fat foods, choose smaller portions, go broiled or baked instead of fried, order a vegetables or salad, and skip dessert.

For more information on nutrition, visit www.blr.com. Here you’ll find lots of information on wellness. BLR® specializes in employee training, so be sure to check out all of their employee wellness training resources as well as other training topics.

Why It Matters

  • Giving your employees nutrition information can help keep them healthy and on the job.
  • Healthy employees will cut down on your sick leave costs and your healthcare insurance expenses.
  • Healthy employees who are eating the right balance of nutritious foods are more likely to be more productive as well.
  • The bottom line is that a healthy amount of wellness training can provide a healthy return on investment for your organization.

 

 


Nuts for longevity: Daily handful is linked to longer life

Originally published November 21, 2013 by Allison Aubrey on http://www.npr.org

Nuts might be loaded with fat but evidence suggests they could help you live longer. A diet study found earlier this year that a diet with daily portions of nuts and olive oil reduced the risks of heart attacks and strokes. Recent evidence found that nuts can help control appetite, which could reduce weight gain.

Americans have not always been in love with nuts.

Think about it: They're loaded with calories and fat. Plus, they can be expensive.

But Americans' views — and eating habits — when it comes to nuts are changing. Fast.

There's a growing body of scientific evidence that's putting a health halo over supermarkets' expanding nut aisles.

Earlier this year, a large diet study concluded that people who eat a Mediterranean-style diet supplemented with daily portions of nuts and olive oil have significantly lower risks of heart attacks and strokes.

And just last month, more evidence emerged that snacking on nuts helps control our appetites, which may stave off weight gain.

Now, a new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine finds that people in the habit of eating a daily handful (a 1-ounce serving) of nuts are more likely to live longer compared with people who rarely consume nuts.

"The preponderance of evidence suggests a health benefit [from eating nuts]," says researcher Charles Fuchs of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School.

To isolate the association between nut consumption and lifespan, Fuchs and his colleagues combined data from two long-term studies that include about 76,000 women and 42,000 men.

The participants in the study completed food frequency surveys every two to four years over several decades. They answered all kinds of questions about dozens of different kinds of foods, including how many servings of nuts they consumed.

"What we find is that regular nut consumers have about a 20 percent reduction in all-cause mortality" over the course of the study, Fuchs says. This includes lower death rates from heart disease and cancer.

Now, since death is inevitable for all of us, here's another way to think about the findings: Men and women who were regularly munching on peanuts or tree nuts like almonds, pecans and walnuts in their 30s and 40s when the study began were significantly more likely to reach their 70s, compared with folks who didn't eat nuts.

So how could a daily handful of nuts possibly be so beneficial? Fuchs says it's not entirely clear.

"What we think nuts do is that they affect metabolism," he explains. Prior research has shown that nuts help us feel fuller, faster. And nuts also help control blood sugar.

Fuchs says if nuts lead to a sense of satiety and help people eat less, many of the other benefits may follow. This could "reduce the risk of diabetes and also reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease," he says.

Of course, this study does not prove a cause and effect between eating nuts and living longer. The design of this type of long-term, observational study only enables researchers to establish an association — a link.

Going forward, researchers want to try to better understand what might explain this link. They want to know more about how the combination of beneficial plant compounds and minerals — such as magnesium, fiber and protein — found in nuts may be influencing the body.

With all the good news about nuts in the news, experts who track food trends say more Americans are eating them.

"Nuts are in the perfect spot right now," says John Frank of Mintel. The market research firm estimates that sales of nuts and dried fruit in the U.S. will grow from about $7 billion in annual sales in 2012 to over $9 billion by 2017.

Nuts check a lot of boxes that young adults are looking for: They're high in protein, they're easy to grab and eat on the go, and they're a natural, plant-based food.

"I'm a vegetarian, so nuts are an important part of my diet, for added protein," shopper Emily Williams told me as she added nuts to her shopping cart at a Trader Joe's in Washington, D.C.

Many grocery stores' expanding nut aisles now include lots of variety — everything from dark-chocolate-covered almonds to spicy, Asian-flavor-infused nuts.

And Frank says millennials love the variety. Young adults aren't just snacking on nuts — increasingly, they're tossing them in salads and sprinkling them in yogurt and cereal.

One note about the NEJM study on nuts: The major part of the study was funded by the National Institutes of Health. The researchers also accepted a grant from the International Tree Nut Council Nutrition Research and Education Foundation to cover the cost of analyzing the data.

"The [nut] council approved the grant without any knowledge of the results," says Fuchs. And there was an agreement that the researchers would have reported the findings no matter what the results showed.


9 ways office food fuels employee satisfaction and productivity

Food can play an important role in motivating employees to spend more time in the office, work more effectively while there and generally view their workplace more positively, finds a nationwide survey of nearly 1,100 full-time professionals across more than a dozen different industries. The survey by Seamless, the leading service for ordering delivery and takeout from restaurants in the U.S. and U.K., also reveals the importance of food as a means for building and fostering relationships with clients.

Since the average employee works more than 40 hours a week, “food remains a relatively untapped perk that companies can use to measurably improve employee retention and happiness and show their appreciation, while separating themselves from competitors. Free food all the time is unrealistic for most companies, but the occasional pizza party or afternoon treat goes a long way,” says Nick Worswick, vice president and general manager of corporate at Seamless.

Here are nine positive ways food can be used to inspire healthy eating in the workplace and foster higher productivity levels among employees.

1. Employee Satisfaction

While a majority (60%) of employees say they are satisfied with their current employment situation, 69% feel that more perks – including gym memberships (40%), stock options (22%) and food perks (20%) - would have a direct positive impact on their job satisfaction.

2. Recruiting Advantage

Nearly half of the respondents note that the availability of free lunch would strongly influence their decision to accept a job offer.

3. A Pat on the Back

Sixty percent report that having more food at the office would make them feel more valued and appreciated by their employer.

4. Team Building

More than 60% of respondents agree that company-provided lunches would encourage them to eat with their colleagues, fostering more internal collaboration.

5. Motivation and Productivity

One-third of the employees surveyed divulge that it takes food to make them show up to optional meetings – and another 20% admit to making their decision after knowing what’s on the menu.

6. Client Camaraderie

Forty-three percent of employees say sharing food or a meal with clients helps foster a better working relationship. Food also tops the list in terms of the best client gifts, with 41% noting that food is the very best option for corporate gifts.

7. Time to Spare

More than half of employees say they would spend less time away from work if food were available. Half of the respondents (51%) report spending more than 10 minutes per day picking up lunch or other food outside the office.

8. Healthy Choices

More than half of employees also say having food perks in the workplace would help them eat healthier.

9. Peace of Mind

Nearly half of respondents feel that more food perks in the workplace would make them more satisfied with their employer, in turn reducing 40% of respondents’ personal stress.

Source: http://ebn.benefitnews.com/gallery/ebn/9-ways-office-food-fuels-employee-satisfaction-productivity-2731438-1.html

 


Food for thought

BY DENIS STOREY

May 1, 2012

Source: Benefitspro.com

If you’ve been paying attention to my rants over the years, it doesn’t take long to figure out how much I scream the paint off the walls about obesity in this country. It’s such a singularly classic representation of the worst of us.

“I’m free to do what I want. I’ll pay for it. And if I can’t, somebody else will.”

But even if I’m overstating the significance of our collectively burgeoning waistbands, obesity still stands (or sits) as probably our single greatest (remaining) preventable health care cost driver.

Now I’m no longer a lone voice in the wilderness. A handful of new studies just dropped that actually spell out some of the hard costs our soft bodies are ringing up.

The bottom line is obesity can now be tied to $190 billion in annual health care costs—more than 20 percent of the total we spend every year, according to a study in the January issue ofJournal of Health Economics. This is apparently twice the estimates of most experts.

Even worse—at least for employers—obesity racks up nearly $6.5 billion in absenteeism costs with an additional $30 billion in lost productivity, from those who still manage to show up. Not only that, but according to the Duke University study that broke these numbers, the less productive obese workers cost employers—on average—a month out of every year. And maybe least surprising of all, obese men rack up nearly six more sick days a year, while women tally up more than nine sick days annually.

This isn’t about how many of us are overweight, because we’ve all seen the numbers, with an upcoming HBO documentary reporting that 69 percent of us now weigh more than we should.

What this is about is getting hard numbers, with the obese (and particularly the morbidly obese) now costing the system far more than smokers.

Finally, and where it matters most to those of us in the business, Reuters reported that non-obese Americans pay higher health insurance premiums and taxes into Medicaid to pick up the tab for the obese.

The numbers, like the buffet lines, go on and on.