Workplace Wellness: The Cost of Unhealthy Behaviors in America is $623 per Worker

Jane Sarasohn-Kahn

Posted 11/14/11 on Health Populi

The health status of the American workforce is declining. Every year, unhealthy behaviors of the U.S. workforce cost employers $623 per employee annually, according to the Thomson Reuters Workforce Wellness Index. People point to smoking, obesity and stress as the 3 most important factors impacting health costs.

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Health is Bliss

Jane Sarasohn-Kahn

First posted 7/14/11 on Health Populi

In the ever-morphing space between health, wellness and beauty is the latest online portal called Bliss.com. The project was launched by Glam Media, which brings together women-focused brands and social media. Glam boasts a reach of 200 million across all of its online properties, and estimates that Bliss.com will realize an 11 million member community. Its target is “yogis, fitness enthusiasts and health conscious moms,” according to Glam’s website. Bliss Connect is the social networking component on the website for user-generated content.

[In a small-world, two-degrees of separation from my health care world, Glam was in fact inspired by Esther Dyson in 2002.]

With hyperlinks to “eat well,” “get fit,” “mind+spirit,” “head to toe,” and “sanctuary,” this website grabs onto the zeitgeist of Whole Health. Today’s features include “Exercise in Bed,” “Summer Snacks That Won’t Blow Your Calorie Budget,” and “Healthy Now, Healthy Later,” a four-step process to help you sustain good health habits — sponsored by One-A-Day vitamins.

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Retail Health Providers are Expanding the Corporate Wellness Market

Jane Sarasohn-Kahn

First posted 7/12/11 on Health Populi

U.S. employers are taking workers’ health and vitality more seriously in 2011 and for the future, based on their responses to benefit consultants’ surveys on where companies plan to place health spending in their benefit investment portfolios. Wellness is the new health benefit.

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Prevention: The Answer To Curbing Chronically High Health Care Costs

Kenneth Thorpe

First published 5/24/11 on Kaiser Health News

While Congress tries to control health care spending, lawmakers should be careful to make choices that are pennywise but not pound foolish.

In April, the House voted 236 to 183 to repeal the health law’s prevention and public health trust fund. Republicans said they opposed giving the Secretary of Health and Human Services wide discretion on how to spend this money. But the result is a setback for the first dedicated source of funding for national prevention efforts and could be a missed opportunity to reduce spending even further by preventing the largest driver of health care costs — chronic disease.

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To Fix Your Health Habits, Do It All At Once

Kenneth Lin

First published 5/13/11 on Common Sense Family Doctor

As a physician, I have mixed feelings about the popular reality television show “The Biggest Loser.” On one hand, some of my patients are surely inspired by seeing severely overweight people, many of them suffering chronic weight-related health problems, make various positive lifestyle changes and rapidly lose weight. Unfortunately, others may assume that eating meals prepared by professional nutritionists and getting one-on-one coaching from a celebrity personal trainer are fundamental to the contestants’ successes. Since most people don’t have access to such help, they may conclude that it’s not worth trying to fix all their unhealthy habits.

That, however, would be the wrong conclusion to draw.

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The Missing Link in ACOs: Patients

Mark Lutes and Joel Brill

First published 3/15/11 on Kaiser Health News

In 2009, researchers reported the discovery of “Darwinius masillae,” a small lemur-like creature that lived some 47 million years ago. Many paleontologists have postulated that D. masillae was the missing link, marking the point at which the evolutionary lineage of humans diverged from that of more distant primates.

It seems to us that, in the recent debate about accountable care organizations, one could also detect a missing link.