Facebook breaks increase employee productivity, study shows | Competition shows gender gap among incentive winners | Common misconceptions can derail fitness efforts, report says
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April 17, 2012
AHIP Wellness SmartBrief

Wellness Programs & Trends
Facebook breaks increase employee productivity, study shows
An Academy of Management study found giving employees a 10-minute break to use the Internet and check Facebook increases happiness, health and productivity. Employees using Facebook were 16% more productive than those who could not use the Internet during breaks and almost 40% more productive than those who did not get any break at all. CNBC/Tech Media Network (4/16)
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Competition shows gender gap among incentive winners
A competition sponsored by Healthy Wage had 66 employees from several large corporations bet $100 that they could lose at least 10% of their body weight to win $400. After six months, 63% of the men but only 15% of the women reached the goal. A Cornell University economist said the gender difference raises issues about how to tailor incentive programs to different groups of people. Orlando Sentinel (Fla.) (tiered subscription model) (4/16)
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Common misconceptions can derail fitness efforts, report says
Exercise myths that can derail fitness efforts include the idea that regimens that do not lead to weight loss are not working, according to Consumer Reports. Other misconceptions include that exercise can lead to weight loss in specific body areas, that stretching is needed before working out, that sports drinks are better than water and that calorie counters on exercise machines are accurate. The Washington Post (tiered subscription model)/Consumer Reports (4/16)
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Health News & Research
Report links mental illness to increased risk of physical problems
Adults who experienced any form of mental illness in the past year had a higher risk of developing physical problems than those without mental problems, a Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration report found. Adults who had serious mental problems in the past year were at greater risk of hypertension, asthma, heart disease, diabetes and stroke than those without mental illnesses. Nurse.com (4/15)
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Scientists debate issue of trace chemicals found in foods
Research shows that trace levels of harmful chemicals in packaging seep into food, and scientists are researching and debating what levels are dangerous. Janet Nudelman of the Breast Cancer Fund calls it a huge health issue that is not getting enough attention from regulators, while the American Chemistry Council contends there is no reason to worry because all packaging that comes into contact with food must meet FDA safety standards. The Washington Post (tiered subscription model) (4/17)
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Another study backs efficacy of weight-loss surgery in diabetes
An Italian study of 60 obese type 2 diabetes patients showed 80% of those who underwent laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy had remission of their disease within 18 months, while none of those who took medication achieved remission. The findings appear in the Archives of Surgery. ABC News/Medical Unit blog (4/16), HealthDay News (4/16)
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Higher mortality risk seen in diabetes patients with CKD
An analysis in the Journal of the American Heart Association found chronic kidney disease was an important predictor of mortality in type 2 diabetes patients. Older patients, those with longer diabetes duration and those with higher blood pressure had the highest mortality risk, researchers said. ClinicalAdvisor.com (4/14)
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Schools & Community
La. district is honored for wellness, nutrition efforts
The St. Tammany Parish school system in Louisiana was recognized by the American School Board Journal's Magna Awards program for its efforts to improve student nutrition and wellness. The district received an honorable mention for efforts to "improve food quality, give students greater opportunities for physical activity, and provide classroom instruction on healthy lifestyles," according to the ASBJ. The Times-Picayune (New Orleans) (4/16)
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Oregon schools focus on fitness, nutrition
An elementary-school physical-education teacher recently invited parents to class as part of "Shape Up Across Oregon" -- a monthlong event promoting fitness -- and as part of plans to teach students about healthy eating. Other "Shape Up" events include a competition in which students pledge to exercise for 1,350 minutes this month and log their progress to complete a virtual trek across the state. The Hillsboro Argus (Ore.) (4/16)
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Bilingual website to boost health among Latinos
UnitedHealthcare introduced a bilingual mobile website meant to provide health and wellness information to Latinos. The website allows people to view pages in English or Spanish and gives health tips and podcasts in both languages. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (tiered subscription model) (4/12)
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Wellness Industry Developments
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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Become a wellness expert with AHIP's online courses
Understand the design principles, goals and objectives of wellness programs in AHIP's online course, Wellness, Part One: Wellness, Prevention, and Value-Based Care, and learn how to tackle chronic diseases and promote healthy behavior in Wellness, Part Two: Combating Chronic Diseases through Workplace Wellness Programs. Get details on one or both of these courses.
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Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore."
-- André Gide,
French author
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