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March 8, 2013
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Strategies to improve employee and population health

  Wellness Programs & Trends 
  • Most large employers expect to continue health benefits
    A survey of 500 large employers by Towers Watson and the National Business Group on Health showed 60% said it is unlikely they would stop offering health care benefits for regular employees in the next five years and 82% would not send full-time employees to insurance exchanges without a financial subsidy. To control health costs, employers are using wellness incentives and health plans are discouraging overspending by making employees more responsible for costs. Chicago Tribune (tiered subscription model)/Reuters (3/7) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • CSX's employee wellness programs promotes health, safety
    The health and wellness program at railroad company CSX is more than a way to promote work productivity and save on health care costs: it also boosts on-the-job safety, according to Kenneth Glover, CSX's director of health, wellness and human performance. This article outlines various wellness initiatives at the company that revolve around the notion of employees as "industrial athletes." Progressive Railroading (3/2013) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • More children engage in physical activity, report finds
    A report by the Partnership for a Healthier America revealed more than 1,700 U.S. cities promoted exercise in 2012 to help boost physical activity in nearly 3 million children. Researchers also noted a growing number of established or renovated grocery stores in "food deserts," providing more than half a million people with access to fresh and healthy produce. Reuters (3/7) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Short bouts of exercise may improve cognitive function in youths
    A Dutch analysis of studies involving 586 6- to 35-year-olds showed that short periods of moderately intense exercise was associated with significant improvements in higher-order cognitive function such as self-control. The impact of brief exercise on cognition could have relevance for treating attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and autism, researchers said. The findings were published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine. HealthDay News (3/7) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Health News & Research 
  • Study: People lose more weight when cash is involved
    Participants who received financial incentives for losing weight on average lost more than 9 pounds, compared with 2.3 pounds for those who were not paid to lose weight, a study to be presented at the annual meeting of the American College of Cardiology revealed. Researchers also found 62% of participants in the incentive group stayed with the health program, compared with 26% of those who were not paid. HealthDay News (3/7) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Poll: Most providers recommend OTC drugs to patients
    Ninety-eight percent of health care professionals recommend over-the-counter drugs to their patients, while nearly 75% of primary care physicians do so before suggesting prescription medicines, a survey by the Consumer Healthcare Products Association showed. Researchers also found 84% of patients trust their provider's OTC recommendations. (3/6) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Study: Food stamps don't improve nutrition for children
    Regardless of whether they participate in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, most low-income children fail to meet national dietary recommendations for whole grains, fruits and vegetables, according to a study in the journal Pediatrics. Of those receiving SNAP benefits, about 19% are overweight and 18% are obese, researchers say, similar to percentages for low-income children not receiving SNAP benefits. Reuters (3/7) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Schools & Community 
  • L.A. group wants urban gardens to replace food deserts
    Los Angeles "guerrilla gardener" Ron Finley and his nonprofit group L.A. Green Grounds want to reduce the number of food deserts in the city by planting gardens in some 26 square miles of vacant lots. His goal is to teach children to garden. "Growing your own food is like printing your own money," Finley said. (Los Angeles) (3/7) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Wellness Industry Developments 
  AHIP News 
  • It's here: AIS's Directory of Health Plans: 2013
    Available in print or CD, AIS’s Directory of Health Plans: 2013 allows you to make smart decisions based on solid data. Use the directory to identify market trends, gain insight into health plan models, determine which networks may best serve for your organization, develop benchmarks and more. Visit the AHIP Store to get your copy today. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Privacy regulation: significant changes ahead. Learn more.
    HHS issued a “Mega Reg” that addresses numerous aspects of patient privacy. The new rule will strengthen the privacy and security protection for individuals' health information in an ever expanding digital age. Join us from 2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. ET on March 21 for a webinar when legal experts will dissect the changes, provide analysis, and present experienced commentary. Get details. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
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Hope never abandons you, you abandon it."
--George Weinberg,
American psychologist, writer and activist

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