Employers debate use, efficacy of wellness incentives | Walk-Off Challenge sets a fast pace in Kitsap, Wash. | Fresh approaches, popular themes keep fitness classes full
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April 26, 2012
AHIP Wellness SmartBrief

Wellness Programs & Trends
Employers debate use, efficacy of wellness incentives
Employers are debating how big financial incentives should be and whether negative reinforcement is a usable tool as wellness programs try to increase employee participation, experts said. Some results already are in: Disney reported that the use of a health risk appraisal almost vanished after it removed a $100 incentive for employees to participate. Human Resource Executive (4/25)
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Walk-Off Challenge sets a fast pace in Kitsap, Wash.
Doctors Clinic employees and physicians in Kitsap, Wash., teamed up for a Workplace Walk-Off Challenge that set 10,000 steps per day as the minimum goal. During the first week, walkers logged 9,678,389 steps, or about 4,840 miles. Kitsap Peninsula Business Journal (Port Orchard, Wash.) (4/26)
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Fresh approaches, popular themes keep fitness classes full
Fitness classes are keeping people coming back by incorporating themes from popular books, such as "The Hunger Games," and with fresh approaches to old favorites, such as paddleboard yoga and revitalized step classes. Other workouts combine multiple aerobic elements, such as Pilates and kickboxing. The Sun (Baltimore) (4/25)
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High school offers "lifetime fitness" alternative to PE
E.C. Glass High School in Lynchburg, Va., offers "lifetime fitness" as an alternative for students who are not into sports or weightlifting but need physical-education credits to graduate. The program mixes exercise and activities, such as yoga, walking and step aerobics, with meditation and nutrition education. The News & Advance (Lynchburg, Va.) (4/25)
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Health News & Research
Report: Cities see improved air quality
The American Lung Association's "State of the Air" report found air quality is improving in the nation's dirtiest cities, with Los Angeles recording its cleanest air in 13 years even as it scored the highest in ozone pollution. The report found big improvements in particle and ozone pollution in the top 25 most polluted cities. Santa Fe, N.M., had the cleanest air, the report said. Yahoo!/HealthDay News (4/25)
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Eating eggs could boost good-cholesterol levels, satiety
Participants who ate three whole eggs a day showed improved measures of HDL cholesterol at 12 weeks compared with those who ate the equivalent amount of egg substitute, researchers at the University of Connecticut found. Another study by researchers at the University of Missouri revealed that teen girls who ate a higher-protein breakfast containing eggs had greater satiety and an enhanced hormone response to hunger. The results were presented at the Experimental Biology meeting. Yahoo!/Asian News International (4/25)
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Strawberries, blueberries help ward off memory problems, study says
Data from the Nurses' Health Study show that women who ate the most strawberries and blueberries developed memory problems at slower rates than did those who ate less, according to researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital. The study in the Annals of Neurology found that the biggest berry eaters averaged only a single half-cup of blueberries or two half-cups of strawberries each week, which author Elizabeth Devore called "simple interventions that appear to have pretty healthful effects." WebMD (4/26)
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Schools & Community
Urban gardens improve nutrition, build neighborhoods, expert says
Cities can use vacant land and manpower to build stronger food systems that improve nutrition for low-income communities, says Ken Dunn, whose Resource Center creates urban gardens in Chicago neighborhoods. "Urban agriculture can be the anchor for urban revitalization," he told a gathering in Toledo, Ohio. The Blade (Toledo, Ohio) (4/26)
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Texas groups roll out health program for Latino congregations
Health experts at the University of Texas at San Antonio and the UT Health Science Center have collaborated on a pilot program, called Building a Healthy Temple -- A Faith-Based Community Participatory Research Project for Preventing Childhood Obesity Among Latino Families, to help congregants in local Latino churches adopt a healthier lifestyle. San Antonio Express-News (4/25)
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Healthy smoothies tempt students to stay on campus for lunch
A chef's idea to sell healthy smoothies at Montclair High School in New Jersey is aimed at getting students to stay on campus at lunchtime and make more nutritious food choices. Food-service provider Chartwells also has improved its menu because the school district's open-campus policy means about 30% of students eat in the cafeteria regularly, while most head to restaurants or food trucks. The Montclair Times (N.J.) (4/26)
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Wellness Industry Developments
Learn about wellness programs with easy online courses
Understand design principles, goals, and objectives of wellness programs by taking AHIP's online course, "Wellness, Part One: Wellness, Prevention, and Value-Based Care". Learn how to tackle chronic diseases and promote healthy behavior in "Wellness, Part Two: Combating Chronic Diseases through Workplace Wellness Programs". Click here for details.
Let's get America talking. Dr. Deepak Chopra shows how.
Physician and New York Times best-selling author, Deepak Chopra, M.D., FACP, will share with us how we can, and should, promote a national conversation around health and well-being. What programs will yield the greatest health benefits to Americans? And, how can we work together to create a culture of health and a community of shared responsibility? Learn more at Institute 2012.
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Combat an American health crisis with wellness programs
This country is experiencing a crisis amid rising health care costs and increases in obesity rates, heart disease and diabetes. Accordingly, many employers are instituting programs that promote well-being and thwart chronic diseases. Find out what they know. Register for AHIP’s two wellness courses. Get details.
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One person with a belief is equal to a force of 99 who have only interests."
-- John Stuart Mill,
British philosopher and political economist
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