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Biometric screening helped one employee lose 50 lb and change his life


Prior to his first biometric health screen, Joe* had little awareness of how his lifestyle, diet, and exercise habits impacted his risk of disease, or how it affected his quality of life.

60% of Canadian adults have low health literacy, or the ability to understand and use their health information to make informed decisions for their own wellbeing. Low health literacy and poor health can contribute to absenteeism and poor performance in the workplace.

Organizations can support the wellbeing of their employees with health tools like biometric screening to help identify any potential risk factors for diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, or stroke. These screens provide assessments of health using markers such as waist circumference, triglyceride, cholesterol, blood sugar levels, and blood pressure.

Is having the information enough to make a change?

Joe’s health screens would indicate his severely increased risk factors for diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Emotionally, his health status was taking its toll as he often felt overwhelmed by the idea of “having to change his life” coupled with the deep pang of guilt as year after year he wasn’t successful in reaching his goal. He had the information and knew he had to change, but what he lacked was the all-important how.

Joe’s health finally changed after working with the onsite nurse who took the time to explain how his risk factors impacted his health. Together, Joe and the nurse were able to create a simple plan where he had to meet one sustainable goal, such as swapping a pastry for fresh fruit, before his next screen.

One year later, Joe entered his screening appointment with a smile spanning ear to ear. Having successfully lost (and kept off) 50 lbs., Joe’s screen indicated a reduced risk of diabetes, high cholesterol, and hypertension, as all his markers had decreased. He felt motivated to continue the lifestyle habits that gave him more energy, helped him feel stronger, and he had a confidence that translated to other areas of his life including work.

Companies that prioritize healthy lifestyle programs for their employees can experience a reduction in absenteeism and an increase in workplace productivity. The benefits of an onsite nurse are numerous. From education about health risks and medication use, to simple steps towards reducing risks and improving overall health, biometric screenings provide a complete health picture including steps towards disease risk reduction and support for health and wellbeing.

*Name changed

Resources:

https://abclifeliteracy.ca/health-literacy/

https://www.cdc.gov/healthliteracy/learn/index.html

https://bcmj.org/blog/basic-health-literacy-canada-doing-poorly

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