Healthier Heart

Wellness Programs Focus Areas for Healthier Heart

In continuing our support of American Heart Month (see here and here), the National Heart, Blood, and Lung Institute — which is part of the  National Institutes of Health — offers materials and insights to better understand heart disease.

The group also offers tips that could be integrated into a well-run workplace wellness program.

To begin with the data, the site states: “An astonishing 80 percent of women ages 40 to 60 have one or more risk factors for heart disease. Having one or more risk factors dramatically increases a woman’s chance of developing heart disease because risk factors tend to worsen each other’s effects. In fact, according to research compiled by the NHLBI, having just one risk factor doubles your chance of developing heart disease.”

“Whatever a woman’s age, she needs to take action to protect her heart health. Heart disease can begin early, even in the teen years, and women in their 20s and 30s need to take action to reduce their risk of developing heart disease. Yet among U.S. women ages 18 and older, 17 percent are current smokers. Among women ages 20 and older, 64 are overweight (BMI of 25 or greater), 27 percent have hypertension, and 45 percent have high cholesterol. African American and Hispanic women, in particular, have higher rates of some risk factors for heart disease and are disproportionately affected by the disease compared to white women. More than 80 percent of midlife African American women are overweight or obese, 53 percent have hypertension, and 11 percent have been diagnosed with diabetes. Eighty percent of Hispanic women ages 20 and older are overweight or obese, and 15 percent have been diagnosed with diabetes.”

Of course, to help address these concerns, one area that well-run wellness programs focus on is weight loss.

The National Heart, Blood, and Lung Institute provides tips here that address:

  • Why Is a Healthy Weight Important?
  • What Is Overweight and Obesity?
  • What Factors Contribute To a Healthy Weight?
  • What is Energy Balance, and Why is It important for Maintaining a Healthy Weight?