Wellness program lunch-and-learns improve employee health

The HealthWise Wellness Program has joined forces with third-year Doctor of Pharmacy candidates from the University of Georgia College of Pharmacy to host a series of health and education wellness lunch-and-learn seminars in March and April.

“The HealthWise lunch and learns target health risk factors that can be impacted by early intervention or behavioral programs,” said Roxane Patterson, Director of Occupational Health Services. HealthWise lunch and learns are available to all Georgia Health Sciences employees.

The sessions will cover various healthful living topics, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, beginning an exercise program, smoking cessation and dealing with insomnia. Patterson said that while the enterprise would love to see all employees eat healthfully and exercise regularly, these seminars focus on conditions and behaviors on which HealthWise can have the most impact.

The causes of chronic diseases are well established and a small set of risk factors is responsible for most of them: unhealthy diet, physical inactivity and tobacco or drug use. The total number of people dying from chronic diseases is double that of all infectious diseases, maternal and perinatal conditions, and nutritional deficiencies combined. And that is just the tip of the iceburg. Without action to address the causes, deaths from chronic disease will increase by 17 percent between 2005 and 2015, according to the World Health Organization.

In the United States alone, chronic diseases account for 70 percent of all deaths each year. And in Georgia, of the five most common causes of death in America – heart disease, cancer, stroke, respiratory diseases and unintentional injuries – Georgia’s instances of death outranked the national average in all five categories, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

“Early intervention and education is the key to altering behaviors associated with common risk factors that contribute to chronic diseases including asthma, diabetes, heart failure, coronary heart disease and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease,” Patterson said.

HealthWise will host a series of lunch and learns from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the Magnolia Room of Terrace Dining:

  • March 1, Insomnia – Causes, Symptoms and Treatment
  • March 6, Exercise – Easy Tips to Help you Get in Shape
  • March 8, Dealing with Excess Weight Problems and Related Health Issues
  • March 20, Smoking Cessation – Making the Choice to Quit
  • April 10, High Blood Pressure – The Silent Killer
  • April 12, The Truth About High Cholesterol

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