The Well-Being Journal

Preventing Heart Disease and Stroke Deaths: Sizing Up the Opportunity

Sandy Cummings

Howard Lewine, M.D., wrote a compelling post yesterday on the Harvard Health Blog describing the recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report entitled, "Vital Signs: Avoidable Deaths from Heart Disease, Stroke, and Hypertensive Disease -- United States, 2001-2010."

He writes:

During a press conference to present the study results, CDC director Dr. Tom Frieden said, “As a doctor, I find it heartbreaking to know that the vast majority of people who are having a heart attack or stroke, under the age of 65 in particular, and dying from it didn’t have to have that happen.”

So, what does it take to change this story? Dr. Lewine cites research from the Harvard School of Public Health that points to the power of lifestyle changes (e.g., involving diet, exercise, and abstinence from smoking), following it up with tips to lower your own risk. It's a quick read, and a helpful one.

If you think this information isn't really relevant to you, consider this from Dr. Lewine:

No matter what your age and how good things look today, your future risk of heart disease, stroke and other related diseases is high. It’s true for all of us.

 

 

Topics: Healthy Living Well-Being Links of the Week In the News Healthcare Health Prevention Wellness Chronic Disease

Nov. 15: Are you taking the day off? It’s the Great American Smokeout.

Jennifer Rudloff

On November 15, 2012, people across the nation will be taking the day off from smoking and other tobacco products by participating in the American Cancer Society’s 37th Annual Great American Smokeout. Healthways is here to help.

We’re here to educate and supply people with resources and support to quit successfully. Through our QuitNet® program, more than 1.4 million members worldwide have saved almost $5 billion by kicking the tobacco habit for good. And when people become healthier by quitting, they also become happier and more productive, which benefits not just the individual, but families, friends and employers, too.

Learn more amazing facts about the impact of tobacco use, and some of the resources we offer for quitting in the Healthways infographic below. And if you’re a tobacco user, remember to mark your calendar for Nov. 15—take the day off and then quit for good.

Topics: Healthy Living Financial Well-Being Well-Being Workplace Well-Being Engagement Physical Health Business Performance Health Competitive Advantage Productivity Social Well-Being Success Stories Smoking

Third Annual Ragnar Relay Tennessee, Sponsored by Healthways

Jennifer Rudloff

Healthways is a proud sponsor of the third annual Ragnar Relay Tennessee, which began today as more than 2,600 runners of all ages took their mark in Chattanooga, Tenn., on a journey toward Nashville. Teams of 12 runners divide the 196 miles into 36 relay legs.

Along the way, teams will pass by volunteer-supported exchanges for recharging. Healthways headquarters in Franklin is exchange #30, where teams can stop for food, hydration and rest. They’ll finish the race at Nashville’s Walk of Fame Park on Saturday, Nov. 10 between 2 and 8 p.m.

With its great weather and beautiful outdoors, the state of Tennessee should be a shining example of well-being. However, Tennessee ranks as the 10th worst state in the nation in terms of overall well-being and the fifth worst in physical health (according to the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index®). The Ragnar Relay provides a wonderful opportunity for Healthways to support the state’s well-being improvement and a great cause.

This year, Ragnar Relay Tennessee partnered with Soles4Souls, a nonprofit organization that helps provide new and lightly used shoes to individuals and families in need. The organization has been collecting shoes around the state at several retail locations and from runners; they will donate the thousands of pairs collected after the race to families in need throughout Tennessee.

Thank you to all of the Healthways colleagues who are participating—runners and volunteers. If you see any Ragnar participants this weekend, join us in cheering them on!

Topics: Healthy Living Exercise Physical Health Health Community Well-Being Index Healthways Events

Soda Ban Battle Begins

Jennifer Rudloff

Reposted from the MeYou Health Blog, written by Eugénie Olson

Beverage makers and the New York City Board of Health are getting ready for a big battle over sugary drinks, and it’s going to be anything but sweet.

In response to a recent citywide ban on the sale of sugary drinks larger than 16 ounces, the American Beverage Association has partnered with New York City restaurant and movie-theater owners to challenge the Board of Health and ask that a judge reject the size limits on soda. The ban is slated to begin in March 2013.

The restrictions, originally proposed by mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, were championed as a way to help control the growing obesity problem in New York City, where more than half of all adults are overweight or obese. City officials argue that by limiting soda size at restaurants, street carts, and entertainment and sports venues, they can promote healthier living.

Indeed, they feel the ban is well within the rights of the department. “The Board of Health absolutely has the authority to regulate matters affecting health, and the obesity crisis killing nearly 6,000 New Yorkers a year—and impacting the lives of thousands more—unquestionably falls under its purview,” wrote the mayor’s chief spokesman, Marc La Vorgna, in a statement.

Beverage makers and New York City restaurant and movie theater owners feel differently, of course. They believe that the ban is “a dramatic departure” from the amount of influence that the Board of Health typically exerts on the well-being of its residents, and that the city should defer to state legislators on this issue. The soft-drink industry has had luck in the past when appealing to state legislators; in 2010 it convinced them to scrap a proposed soda tax.

What do you think? Do you agree with soft-drink makers that the Board of Health went too far, and that New York City residents should be able to buy whatever size soda they like? Or do you think that the ban is a good way to help improve New Yorkers’ well-being?

Topics: Healthy Living In the News Weight Loss Health