July 2008


BenefitsVIP.com has some useful insider information that shows just why companies are implementing more wellness programs and urging their employees to lead healthier lives and lifestyles.

A new report from the Trust for America’s Health (TFAH for short) shows that prevention programs could save the United States over $16 billion in just five years’ time. The average return on investment for healthcare payers, from Medicare to private payers, is over 5 to 1. A $100,000 investment by a company is, on average, saving the company over half a million dollars!

Wellness programs implemented to stop common life-threatening conditions like heart disease and stroke are effective enough to reduce cases five percent in five years. Diabetes-prevention programs, a useful tool in a time when over 24 million Americans suffer from Type II diabetes, reduce cases five percent in only two years!

People are always saying that the cost of healthcare is a tough pill to swallow. The information in this TFAH report shows that living a healthier lifestyle makes that pill easier to take. Employers are heeding this advice. More companies than ever are going to start using disease management and wellness programs.

And it pays to start your path too wellness on your own. You can avoid leg-pulling from your boss by learning how to eat right, getting enough exercise and quitting the habits you know are bad for you. This helps you feel even better; overall it creates an even bigger return on investment, which means there’s more money saved on healthcare to go around for other things!

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As seen in this iVillage report, there is good news and bad news in the search for the source of the latest produce-borne bacterial outbreak.

Tomatoes were the first suspects in carrying salmonella, which has infected over 1,200 people nationwide. They recently got off the hook when they were all labeled safe to eat by the FDA.

But now the FDA is warning against jalapeno and serrano peppers, which this blog reported as suspect two weeks ago. The infected peppers were found in a Southern Texas distribution facility and were flagged as a product of Mexico. Remember that even if this is far from your home, the food may still have reached your local supermarket.

As you read the report, you will see that still nothing is set in stone. Mexico is not necessarily the source of the bacteria infecting these crops.

We at BenefitsVIP recommend you continue to insure yourself against salmonella by watching out for suspect produce. Also, in general, remember to wash all food properly before eating. Head here to learn more about handling food properly.

It’s well known that people in the South go about life a little differently. Some admire their easy-going, unhurried attitude, and that hospitality of theirs is notorious. That wonderful simplicity is echoed in their regional cuisine, which does not need to be described by the highfalutin language of some cosmopolitan food critic: anything “Southern-fried” is just good.

That lifestyle comes with a price though: the South has led the nation for years in obesity rates. As CNN reports, a new CDC survey shows that not much has changed, with all but one of the top ten most obese states being below the Mason-Dixon line. Mississippi still leads the pack with nearly one in three survey respondents having the Body Mass Index qualifications for the epidemic situation. As the report states, though, the other top states are not far behind. And let no Yankees or Westerners fool themselves: the entire nation is facing weight trouble – 26 percent of survey respondents nationwide are considered obese.

While we here at BenefitsVIP encourage people to insure themselves with healthy lifestyles, we realize that one of the greatest obstacles to achieving those lifestyles is tradition. The report notes one of the main reasons for the South’s consistent leadership in obesity rates is due to its high-fat food. And just about every culture throughout our varied country is anchored by great meals, and in this land of plenty those great meals can come often – almost too often. And moderation is often too noble to take up around family and friends.

But obesity often leads to other problems like Type II diabetes and heart disease, not to mention all that extra weight that slows you down to a point that even some Southerners might not appreciate.

So Americans who want to live healthier lifestyles (all of them) face a difficult balancing act. As healthcare costs rise, your boss will want you to stay fit to ultimately reduce company expenses. But Grandma’s insistence on you having another helping at the dinner table is just about impossible to deny. And your friends at the bar use a strong argument in urging you to have another drink: “Come on!”

I’ll leave this up to you, the commenter: How can we start a new culture of healthy living in this country without straying too far from our roots?

This salmonella outbreak continues to intensify. CNN recently mentioned that over 1000 people have fallen ill. Tomatoes are not the only culprits for the epidemic – peppers are now flagged as disease carriers, as well. Other sources may reveal themselves shortly.

The problem is that the source of the bacteria is still unknown. With so much up in the air, the best way to insure yourself against the adverse affects of the salmonella bacteria is to recognize its symptoms. CNN also recently provided a sobering story on a man who discovered too late that he had the disease, and then provides warning signs that could prevent the same from happening to you.

Always wash and prepare your food thoroughly. If you notice any potential symptoms of salmonella, contact your doctor.

A friend of mine proudly proclaimed to me the other day that he doesn’t watch what he eats and he doesn’t bother taking multivitamins because he heard that a large percentage of the vitamins are lost in the bathroom. That last one may be true, but he sure gets sick a lot…

Eating healthy may not seem to be the “manly” thing to do, but doing so prevents tough guys of all ages from being bed-ridden with an illness.

This slideshow I found makes it easy to eat right. This male blogger will admit that the list gets tougher as it goes along, but shoot for even three quarters of the nutritious foods listed here and you won’t have to call in sick like a big wuss.