On April 13th, the American Heart Association (AHA) released their new recommendations for designing, measuring and recognizing “Workplace Wellness Programs”. The AHA feels that these heart-healthy workplace rules could “significantly impact efforts to improve the cardiovascular health of the American workforce.”
As I read through the recommendations, it was so obvious that this “Workplace Wellness Program” could also be our “Homelife Wellness Program” too! The AHA created “Life’s Simple 7” …. seven measures of health that will significantly impact heart health. One of the initiatives the AHA has is the “2020 Impact Goal” ….. that by the year 2020, the cardiovascular health of Americans will improve by 20% and the deaths from heart disease and stroke will go down 20%. 2020 Impact Goal … I like it!
Here is the AHA “Life’s Simple 7” list …. whether at work or at home or both:
1) Stop smoking
2) Get active
3) Lose weight
4) Eat better
5) Manage blood pressure
6) Control cholesterol
7) Reduce blood sugar
See what I mean? This is so much more than a workplace wellness plan. Since there are about 155 million working-age adults in the U.S., if these “Life’s Simple 7” became part of the work culture, the employees would be healthier and they would probably take those good habits into the rest of their lives. Of course, if we practice the Simple 7 at home we would also bring those good habits to work with us!
The Wild Oats “Oaties” often touch on 6 of these 7 areas in our blog content …. especially the “eat better” part. We are a varied group of voices who love and respect what Wild Oats is bringing to the marketplace. We celebrate healthy choices and healthy lifestyles. You’ll find tons of great information on eating better, getting active and losing weight. These 3 things alone will help in the areas of blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol control! So, what’s left? Smoking!
Really, no one, not even smokers, think that smoking is good for us. Lung cancer and coronary artery disease are the two biggest health issues, and the addictive quality of nicotine makes this one difficult habit to break. Over the last decade, the arrival and popularity of “e-cigarettes” continues to change the tobacco use landscape. E-cigarettes contain flavored liquid that carries the nicotine. The liquid is heated and inhaled. Viola …. nicotine without actual cigarette smoke!
The new AHA Life’s Simple 7 includes “stop smoking” but does not include “stop vaping” (the term for e-cigarette use). Does that imply the vaping is safer than smoking? It’s an area of confusion. We’ll see lots of scientific data and public policy adjustments in the years to come. Last year, the AHA published their “E-Cigarette Policy Recommendations” . This document outlines many of the concerns related to e-cigarettes that are still unclear, calling for “comprehensive and continuous research on e-cigarettes’ use, their characteristics, their marketing, and their long-term health effects on individual users, the environment, and public health.” The bottom-line is that vaping was not included in the Life’s Simple 7 because there isn’t enough scientific data yet to know what problems might be occurring.
Life’s Simple 7! Smokers, do your best to address that serious issue. The other 6 areas apply to all of us! Whether at home, or a work, it’s a smart and sensible wellness program. Good health for all has a nice ring to it …