Investing in holistic employee wellbeing solutions is a key component of FCP Euro’s success strategy

To help employees manage the stress of explosive growth, online automotive parts retailer FCP Euro chose WellSpark Health to help build a culture of wellbeing.

Headquartered in Milford, Conn., FCP Euro is an online automotive parts retailer specializing in replacement parts for European vehicles. The company’s online catalog features more than 200,000 unique SKUs of genuine, OE, and OEM parts for European makes including BMW, Volvo Audi, VW, Porsche, and Mercedes. The company is experiencing impressive growth and has landed on the Inc. 5000 fastest growing companies in America list for seven consecutive years. In the past year, FCP Euro has grown from 172 employees to 261 as revenue growth remains strong. Annual revenue surpassed $100 million in 2020 and on track to cross $200 million in late 2022.  

This growth, while always welcome, helped drive the company’s decision to make wellbeing a priority and for FCP Euro to choose WellSpark Health to be their wellbeing solutions provider. “The pace often requires our employees to constantly adapt and the internal capacity we have to support the growth can be stressful for employees,” explained FCP Euro’s VP of Human Resources Peter Tingus. “It becomes critical to ensure mental health support and psychological safety are priorities when continuously improving processes and adding talent. That is another reason we wanted a wellness program to be there as a resource.”

Tingus said “What made FCP Euro connect with WellSpark was the ability to create a custom program that was truly focused on aligning to our employees’ individual needs.” FCP Euro’s wellbeing program — Not All Parts Can Be Replaced — is an example of how the WellSpark team, with a consultative account manager, has worked collaboratively with FCP Euro to build something designed specifically for them and their employees. “The Not All Parts Can Be Replaced program has become a way for us to engage with our teammates and build the program together. It taps into our entrepreneurial spirit while ensuring we keep the bespoke-feeling of our culture as we rapidly add talent,” Tingus explained.

FCP Euro is fully committed to making employee wellbeing part of the company’s culture. “We are a caring, purpose-driven culture and we leaned in on that,” Tingus said. “We made the investment and hired a Wellness Manager to drive the program. We invested in someone who is accountable for aligning our efforts and outlining a five-year plan which I’m proud to say we are chipping away at those milestones.”

Tingus is clear that not every wellness program out there would have been so successful with FCP Euro’s employees. “As engaged as our community is, they would let us know if we missed the mark. A big reason we are getting such high participation rates is due to the partnership we found in WellSpark,” Tingus said. “The WellSpark team has met us with equal quality, rigor and ownership. Picking the right partner was key. Everyone WellSpark has brought to the table has been excellent. Brainstorming with the team, the structure around the coaching, the boutique white-glove service from a person who gets to know our culture has been key. Last but not least, the vastness of the library of resources…not all of it is for everyone, but there is something for everything.”

Accessible

From the beginning, it was important to FCP Euro to have a solution that was easy for employees to access. “Speed to solution was very critical to us,” Tingus said. Through Wellspark’s resources, FCP Euro managers have access to tools that can help them intervene when an employee needs help. The company also uses the WellSpark Health Coach Educator as a way to help the employee find the next step. “It was important for us to have a solution that included a human being that our employees could talk to and who could help them navigate through the personal challenges they may be facing,” Tingus explained.

FCP Euro also acknowledges that managing people can be stressful and that each manager is going through their own personal journey. “I think our managers are getting better at taking care of themselves and their people and are now engaging in conversations they were afraid to prior to us investing in this program,” Tingus shared.

Truly a group effort

A joint effort between WellSpark and a wide group of FCP Euro employees resulted in the branding slogan and design for the FCP Euro wellbeing program — Not All Parts Can Be Replaced. What has impressed WellSpark Account Manager Kristen Bell the most in working with FCP Euro is the involvement of the company’s employees from the very beginning. “We had close to 50% of the leaders registered on the platform within the first 60 days. Having the company’s leaders utilizing the WellSpark resources and passing their experiences along to other employees was really important,” Bell said. Now, 72% of FCP Euro’s leadership team is registered on WellSpark’s MySpark Central platform.

FCP Euro Wellness Manager Nicole Batista credits a lot of the success of their wellbeing program thus far to the communication tactics about the program which is something Batista works closely on with FCP Euro employees and Bell. After the strategy is determined, it’s not just Batista talking about wellbeing, the topic of wellbeing is touched on in many settings by employees from all departments and leadership levels. Batista believes FCP Euro has done a good job of making it a shared value as a company which has had an important impact on their company culture and allowed employees to embrace and engage in the program.

The wellbeing programs at FCP Euro such as quarterly wellness challenges have also brought together people from different departments and helped them understand each other’s roles better. “I think getting people to talk with people they don’t usually work with on a regular basis and understanding what other departments’ days look like has had an important impact on our culture,” Batista said. 

Genuine interest in helping

Chief Growth and Operations Officer for WellSpark, Andi Campbell, believes an authentic interest in people’s wellbeing throughout all levels of the FCP Euro organization has been an important factor to the program’s success. “It’s not a check the box effort to just say you have a wellness program. It’s a real genuine authentic interest in helping to improve the wellbeing of the people in your organization,” Campbell said. “It’s not a budget-driven decision, it’s a real drive toward improving the wellbeing of your populations.”

Tingus agrees with that 100%. “No one has ever asked what the budget is on the coaching sessions. Behind the scenes I have a coaching budget but if we exceed that we’ll figure it out. I’ll do less of something else and then I’ll budget more next year. We really do care about the people who come in through the door and we’re trying to be good role models and stewards of the program.”

What it means to take a life-dimensional approach to wellbeing

No one would argue that what makes someone a person is complex.

It includes things like their career, hobbies, roles within their family unit, and roles within the larger community. But when it comes to health, too often there’s a push to go with a simple biological answer.

But there is nothing simple about a person’s ability to get and stay well. It’s tied to everything from where they live and their ability to get fresh food from a grocery store to the emotional toll of caring for an elderly parent. Job, community, family, and emotional health all impact a person’s ability to achieve health. Which is why focusing only on the person’s physical condition is problematic: how can you add more outdoor exercise to your daily routine if you live in a neighborhood that’s unsafe?

This is why, unlike traditional offerings, we take a life-dimensional approach.

WellSpark was built to address the needs of the modern workforce, specifically those groups with economically diverse, multicultural, long-tenured employee populations who struggle with their health. For us, it’s about understanding each person as the sum of everything in their life—the biological, psychological, and social factors that intersect and determine their health.

https://youtube.com/watch?v=nSWf6CasC-0%3Ffeature%3Doembed
WellSpark’s life-dimensional approach gets to the heart of health challenges.

WellSpark’s life-dimensional approach gets to the heart of health challenges.

This approach peels back the layers to see how everything connects in a way that leads to meaningful change. That means personalized guidance, working with each person to understand what behaviors or changes to their routine a person is willing and able to make. It also means applying cultural competency—understanding how a person’s background shapes their behaviors and beliefs then adapting our guidance to reflect them. And it means thinking about how we can build on small victories to achieve lasting health over time.

But beyond any of that, our life-dimensional approach is often the first time in a long time (or ever) that someone is tasked with improving their health has taken the time to really understand them as a human being. It’s how we build trust so we can ask the harder questions. We know that asking someone to change isn’t an easy conversation, but neither is being the one told to change. But, by starting from a place of compassion and of collaboration, without judgment, our participants know we’re going to be there every step of the way. With support and personalized direction, they build self-management skills, establish healthier behaviors, and learn how to achieve a more enduring well.

Universal nutritional guidelines, with a cultural twist – celebrating healthy eating and diversity during National Nutrition Month

March is National Nutrition Month®, an annual campaign created by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and this year’s theme is “Personalize Your Plate.”

It’s a celebration of culture, highlighting how there is no one-size-fits-all approach to nutrition and health—a concept that WellSpark actively embraces throughout our programs.

As we discussed in our prior post, WellSpark’s Commitment to Cultural Competency – Understanding Workplace Culture and Beyond, we believe the best way to help people make lasting changes to their health is to make sure our coaching is relevant to their culture and life. So, topics like nutrition education need to focus on what a participant eats in their everyday life, not just lessons about the standard programming of the western American diet.

That said, there are some universal truths about how to create a healthier diet—or healthier plate—that apply to everyone:

  • Fill half your plate with fruits and veggies. Get creative with produce by trying an assortment of colors and textures.
  • Experiment with different grains. Try substituting whole grains for refined grains in recipes.
  • Choose lean protein foods. Vary your choices to include seafood, beans, peas, and lentils, as well as eggs, lean cuts of meat and poultry prepared in a healthful way, such as baked or grilled instead of fried.
  • Complete your meal with dairy. Include low-fat or fat-free options like milk, yogurt, cheese, calcium-fortified soymilk, or lactose-free milk.

Keep things fresh by trying different meals
Following the simple guidance outlined above can not only make a big difference in a person’s overall health, but it can be fun and flavorful too. Here are some delicious ideas to change up your breakfast, lunch, and dinner that reflect some of the many cultural cuisines found in our own communities. These healthy alternatives highlight the importance of cultural competency in coaching and the amazing range of options we have for personalizing our plates, together.

Latin AmericaAsian IndianFilipino
BreakfastScrambled egg with tomato, onion and peppers in a corn tortilla or arepa with cheeseBesan cheela (savory pancakes made with chickpea flour and vegetables) with extra tomatoes and spinach on the side, and a cooked eggArroz caldo (chicken and rice porridge with ginger and garlic) with boiled egg, sautéed leafy
greens, and fruit
LunchBean and cheese empanada (stuffed pastry) with a mango and jicama saladRajma (kidney beans in onion, tomato sauce and spices ) with brown rice and a green, leafy vegetable of your choiceKare-kare (beef oxtail soup with peanut butter
and vegetables) with steamed brown rice and
mango
DinnerA cup of sancocho (meat and root vegetable stew) with green salad and yogurt and berries for dessertLaal maas (lamb in hot garlic sauce) with brown rice, vegetable raita (yogurt dip), and a nonstarchy vegetable like cauliflowerGinisang gulay (sautéed vegetables), with shrimp, steamed brown rice and melon

Healthy alternatives highlight the importance of cultural competency

Learn more about National Nutrition Month
National Nutrition Month is an opportunity for everyone to learn about making informed food choices and developing healthful eating and physical activity habits that they can put to use throughout the year.

For more information about the annual event, you can visit
https://www.eatright.org/food/resources/national-nutrition-month

We also encourage you to check out our recent post on culture at
https://blog.wellsparkhealth.com/wellsparks-commitment-to-cultural-competency-understanding-workplace-culture-and-beyond/

WellSpark’s Commitment to Cultural Competency – Understanding Workplace Culture and Beyond

An employee struggling with their health isn’t just a person with a weight problem or a diabetes diagnosis.

Factors like support systems, mental health issues, socioeconomic struggles, and cultural differences, to mention a few, can seriously affect someone’s health. A lot of wellness programs ignore these factors that make up the totality of a person’s life. They may try to fit people into a one-size-fits-all box. But we know this isn’t the best way to go about making lifestyle changes that last, in this case, for everyone.

Everyone, and every job, has a different culture. With culture comes unique languages, diets, schedules, environments, beliefs, and general practices. So, when wellness programs introduce a ‘one size fits all’ program for a workforce, how do we expect these programs to succeed for everyone? Everyone’s health is their own. It’s personal. Every program designed to help people get and stay on a healthy path needs to connect with each individual’s life.

At WellSpark, we believe that to engage people in health programs, you must make the program relevant to that person’s culture and life. Nutrition education needs to be about what people eat in their everyday life, not just lessons about the standard programming of the western American diet. Typical exercise and activity programming needs to be more than going to a gym. It could include things like dancing with your extended family after a holiday meal. And while you might conjure up thoughts of a holiday meal served on plates, at a table gathering, with everyone conversing, for others, it might look different – served in a communal bowl, sitting on the floor, with minimal conversation – creating a connection to one’s culture.

What is culture? When we think about the culture of a workforce at Wellspark, we go beyond what, when, and how employees may eat or exercise. We think about culture in terms of the workplace, the workday, and the actual work itself. Is it conducive to living a healthy lifestyle? Does the work itself make a person sick? Is the work sedentary? Does it impact a person’s sleep patterns? Is it lonely?

The physical workplace also factors into our cultural programming. What if you don’t work in an office? What if you are in a delivery truck, on a shop floor, or working the night shift doing patient care? Programs must be relevant to a person’s life AND accessible during the day to fit a person’s lifestyle. At WellSpark, we’re focused on reaching these economically diverse, multicultural, hard-to-reach populations. WellSpark is committed to the cause of developing culturally relevant and accessible health programs to connect with a culturally diverse workforce. Given these statistics from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health:

  • 42% of Black or African American adults have hypertension
  • 22% of Hispanic Americans over the age of 20 have diabetes
  • Indigenous Americans have the highest rate of cigarette smoking compared to all racial/ethnic groups in America
  • Asian Americans are 40% more likely to have diabetes compared to non-Hispanic White Americans

WellSpark connects programs with the people we are endeavoring to serve.

Getting your vitamins in?

Vitamins (also known as micronutrients) are essential substances that your body needs to function normally.

Vitamins can fuel your body to help do things like heal wounds, repair cells, and support immunity. Your body can produce some vitamins on its own, but it needs others to come from sources like food or supplements.

And mostly food.

“When it comes to vitamins and minerals, food should be your first and main source,” says Brieanna Peabody, a health coach educator at WellSpark Health, a ConnectiCare affiliate. “The goal is to eat a variety and balance of nutrient dense foods to meet your daily nutritional needs.”

The ABCs of vitamins
We need around 30 vitamins, minerals, and other components to support bodily functions. Here’s a quick vitamin rundown, including health benefits and food sources of each vitamin, courtesy of the Mayo Clinic. Ask your doctor how much of each vitamin they recommend for you.

  1. Vitamin A plays a role in vision health, growth, cell division, reproduction, and immunity. It may even protect you against some cancers. It’s in dairy products, organ meats, green leafy vegetables, eggs, and fish, like salmon. Beta-carotene is converted into vitamin A in the body, so it is smart to eat some foods that are rich in beta-carotene as well.  Those include carrots, sweet potatoes, and pumpkins.
  2. Vitamin B-6  can reduce high plasma homocysteine levels, which can help reduce your risk of a stroke or heart disease. Vitamin B-6 also plays a big role in sleep, appetite, and mood. You can find vitamin B-6 in meat, poultry, fish, legumes, chickpeas, and bananas. Just one chicken breast has 0.8 mg!
  3. Vitamin B-12 is also found in meat, fish and poultry, as well as eggs and dairy products. It can also be found in nutritional yeast, and other fortified food products. Like vitamin B-6, vitamin B-12 may also help prevent strokes and lower your risk for heart disease. Vitamin B-12 also protects nerve cells and encourages normal growth.
  4. Vitamin C acts as an antioxidant, possibly helping protect your body against cell damage by molecules called “free radicals” that are in food or the environment — such as tobacco smoke or radiation. You can find this vitamin in citrus fruits, strawberries, broccoli, red peppers, and potatoes. It is also beneficial for eye health and may reduce the risk of mouth, esophagus, stomach, and breast cancer. Contrary to popular belief, there is no real evidence that vitamin C prevents or helps treat the common cold.
  5. Vitamin D may help prevent osteoporosis, reduce certain cancers and multiple sclerosis, and improve osteoarthritis, as researchers are investigating the possibility of a link. Your skin can produce some vitamin D when exposed to the sun, but it is usually not enough to meet your body’s needs. Your doctor may recommend a supplement for that reason. You can get vitamin D from milk, margarine, fatty fish, mushrooms, and fish oils.
  6. Vitamin E is found in vegetable oils, nuts, sunflower seeds, and peanut butter. It works to neutralize unstable molecules that have the potential to damage cells. Diets rich in vitamin E may support healthy immune function and the widening of blood vessels to help prevent blood clots. Some studies show it may help slow or decline the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.
  7. Folate is a vitamin needed to make DNA and other genetic materials. It’s found in legumes, oranges, grains, leafy greens, and cereals. Some possible health benefits of folate include lowering risk of cardiovascular disease, colon cancer, and breast cancer. However, folate supplements might have different effects on cancer risk.
  8. Vitamin K helps with blood clotting and may improve bone health. It is found in leafy greens, soy, eggs, blueberries, meat, and canola oil.

Talk to your doctor before changing your diet or lifestyle.
If you take vitamins in a pill form, do not take more than the recommended daily dose. Some vitamins—especially fat-soluble vitamins like A, D, E, and K—can become toxic if too much is ingested.

“There are possible drug and nutrient interactions to be aware of especially if you have a chronic condition,” says Peabody. Vitamin recommendations may vary based on age, gender, and your stage of life. Plus, women who are pregnant may need different amounts of vitamins than the average recommended amount. Always check with your doctor to see what he or she recommends for you.

Can vitamins prevent conditions like COVID-19?
Presently, there is no cure for the coronavirus (COVID-19), and there is not enough research that supports taking vitamin supplements to prevent or treat COVID-19. The best things you can do are follow the recommended safety guidelines, eat well, be active, and make time for self-care. And if you need help with any of those things, the WellSpark health coaches are here to help.

For more information

Changing Your Diet Can Help Improve Your Heart Health

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States. It costs us nearly $219 billion each year because of health care services, medicine costs, and a loss of productivity.1

80% of heart disease cases are preventable – so how can a preventable disease create such a negative health impact in our country?

A lot of it has to do with lifestyle. In general, a healthy diet and regular physical activity are the two best ways to fight and prevent cardiovascular diseases. Our Chief Medical Officer and Vice President at WellSpark, Dr. Wayne Rawlins, tells us the importance of having a healthy heart. “A healthy heart is central to overall good health. Embracing a healthy lifestyle – proper diet, exercise, avoiding obesity and not smoking – can prevent heart disease and lower your risk for a heart attack or stroke,” he says.
Celebrate the great things your heart does for you by implementing a healthy diet to your life. Dr. Rawlins suggests watching your portions, eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and avoiding high-fat, high-sodium “junk” foods. Here are some more heart healthy eating tips below, backed by the the American Heart Association.

  • Eat a variety of vegetables and fruits. It doesn’t matter if they are frozen, canned, or fresh, as long as there are no added sugars or salts.  Berries are rich in antioxidants, and eating them can reduce risk factors for heart disease. Leafy greens can help reduce blood pressure and improve arterial function.
  • Replace all grains with fiber-rich whole grains. Whole wheat, brown rice, oats, and quinoa are whole grains. Eating three or more servings of whole grain can reduce your risk for heart disease by 22%2. “I’m a fan of brown rice myself,” Dr. Rawlins says. “Rice goes with everything and you can have it with every meal if you want.” Try incorporating brown rice into Gallo Pinto, a delicious rice and beans dish.
  • Remove the skin on poultry and fish or buy it skinless and cook it in ways that doesn’t add saturated and trans-fat, like grilling. Buy the leanest cuts of meat available, and minimize processed red meats like bacon, ham, hotdogs, and deli meat.
  • Eat non-fried fish at least twice a week. Look for different varieties of fish containing omega 3 fatty acids, which lower triglycerides, the risk of developing and irregular heartbeat, and the buildup of plaque in the arteries. Salmon, trout, and herring are great choices.
  • Pick fat-free and low-fat dairy products.
  • Try to avoid foods that contain partially hydrogenated vegetable oils. Limit saturated and trans-fat and replace them with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. These fats can decrease the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
  • Reduce beverages and foods with added sugars.
  • Cut back on sodium and cook with little to no salt. Reducing your sodium intake can lower your blood pressure.
  • Drinking too much alcohol can increase your risk for high blood pressure, obesity, stroke, some cancers, and other conditions. Women should have no more than one drink a day, and men should have no more than two drinks.
  • Keep an eye on your portion sizes.
  • Try out a heart healthy diet, like the Mediterranean diet, the DASH diet, or a vegetarian/plant-based diet.

There is so much you can do to lower your risk for heart disease. “It is a lifestyle that will pay off in the long run in good health,” says Dr. Rawlins. It’s never too late to start making life-changing dietary alterations.

Read more about eating heart healthy:

Sources:

[1] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2021). Heart Disease Facts. Retrieved January 1, 2021, from www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/facts.htm

[2] Link, R. (2018, March 5) 15 incredibly Heart Healthy Foods. Healthline. Retrieved January 1, 2021, from www.healthline.com/nutrition/heart-healthy-foods#section2

10,000 steps a day – does it add up?

Reaching 10,000 steps a day became a mainstream fitness goal with the rise of as wearable fitness trackers. But do we really need to hit this magic number?

The origins of the 10,000 step goal dates back to 1965, to a Japanese devise called Manpo-kei, which translates to “10,000 steps meter.”

Walking is a simple exercise with many proven health benefits, from maintaining or losing weight to improving joint healthOpens a new window. People who sit a lot during the day may find it more difficult to reach 10,000 steps than someone who is always on their feet. Adding physical activity to your normal day, though, can be good for you, regardless of the number on your fitness tracker.

While the “magic number” of 10,000 steps may just be a clever marketing toolOpens a new window, the important thing to remember is that any amount of movement is good.

“Some activity is better than nothing!” explains Wendy Pernerewski, health coach educator at WellSpark Health. “Our bodies were made to move, so every little step we take is just good for us, body and mind.

Benefits of walking
Going for a walk every day can improve your mental wellbeingOpens a new window. Those who practice regular exercise may have a 30% less risk of becoming depressedOpens a new window and may also notice reduced feelings of stress, anxiety, and fatigue. Exercise can also improve the quality of your sleep.

Older folks who enjoy a nice walk get some added benefits. They may see improvements in their cognitive function, memory, attention, and processing speed. Walking can even reduce the risk of developing dementiaOpens a new window. Pernerewski adds that walking after a meal can also help with digestion.

A new studyOpens a new window, led by Dr. I-Min Lee, a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, found that older women who walk 4,400 steps a day have a 41% less risk of premature mortality, compared to those who walk 2,500 steps or less a day.

Steps add up – by the day and by the week
The Physical Activity Guidelines for AmericansOpens a new window suggest 150 minutes per week of exercise, which can include brisk walking. The guidelines recommend spreading those minutes throughout the week. So, you could do 30-minute sessions five days a week or multiple 10-minute sessions each day.

You’d rather measure steps than time? Not to worry. “If getting 10,000 steps a day seems daunting, break it up into smaller bouts of movement each day,” says Pernerewski. She offered these tricks to help you rack up steps:

  • Start your day with a quick 10-15-minute walk to get the blood moving and kinks out of the muscles and joints.
  • Try to take a quick walk every hour or so.
  • Park far away and take stairs whenever possible for extra steps.
  • Have a bunch of conference calls? Put on your headset so you can walk and talk.
  • Drink plenty of water so you have to keep getting up to go the bathroom.
  • Put on some tunes and have a dance party.

Whether you walk 10,000 steps or 4,000, the key is to make sustainable exercise part of your daily life. “There are so many ways to get your steps in every day,” says Pernerewski. “Stay motivated by making it less like a chore and more fun.  Before long, you will be feeling all the amazing benefits of consistently moving your body.”

For more information

Treating the Whole Person: Why the Biopsychosocial Approach is Getting More Attention with Employers

Symptom Diagnosis and Changes to Diet and Exercise Are Not Enough to Drive the Medical Cost Trend Down.

Rising healthcare costs continue to plague American businesses. Chronic diseases have had a significant impact on health and economic costs. According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, 90% of the nation’s $3.5 trillion in annual healthcare expenditures are for people with chronic and mental health conditions.1,2 Diabetes alone costs the US healthcare system and employers $237 billion every year.3 Poor health impacts everyone. Nearly every business faces the challenge of managing rising healthcare medical costs—both direct and indirect —such as health plan premiums, pharmaceutical drugs, presenteeism, absenteeism, disability claims and worker’s compensation.

Treating the Whole Person and Not Just the Symptoms
The search for understanding the underlying mechanisms of poor health and identifying the best possible treatment options has prevailed because of these staggering healthcare costs. The traditional approach towards healthcare and prevention has been the biological model where a person’s symptom or illness is exclusively treated by medical means. For instance, a person may experience jaw pain, so a medical doctor might recommend a mouthguard as the overall treatment. At the time this might seem satisfactory but what if the underlying pain advances into chronic pain that indicates a more serious underlying condition. This challenges the biomedical approach to develop a more extensive model that does not fit into its narrow framework.

The biopsychosocial (BPS) approach considers factors such as emotions, behaviors, culture and social environments that all impact human medical conditions. This multifaceted model allows for treating the whole person considering the underlying factors that can inhibit a person’s ability to develop healthy habits so that healthcare professionals can address the root of the issue and not just the symptoms. Plus, meet the challenge of rising chronic illnesses. It becomes apparent that surface level medical treatment while important is not enough to drive the medical cost trend down. A deeper dive into the biological, psychological and social factors unique to each individual is needed. For example, someone who is depressed, might have had a heart attack (biological), or have a self-critical nature about themselves (psychological) or lost a loved one (social). By identifying these factors, you can properly educate and support those who may have emerging or diagnosed illnesses by leveraging human connections to address the root cause of unhealthy lifestyles and behaviors.

Why Employers Should Look Beyond the Traditional Well-Being Programs for their Employees
When employers are choosing a worksite health and well-being program for their employees, it’s crucial to select one that’s result-driven and personalized. While most traditional one-size-fits all wellness programs might appear attractive with its incentives and gamifications, a behavior-changing, continuous engagement and personalized program proves to be more successful. WellSpark Health helps businesses avoid future medical costs associated with their employees’ lifestyle driven illnesses and unmanaged chronic disease. Our approach leverages behavioral diagnostic tools to help unlock psycho-social determinants. By identifying, educating and supporting those who may have emerging or diagnosed illnesses we keep people on a lower cost path to good health.  Our health management, pre-disease, and condition management solutions focus on treating the whole person allowing us to improving outcomes across the health continuum. Our behavior change toolset is a catalyst that unlocks the daily struggles and stressors, transforming conversations beyond traditional EAP services.

To learn more about how WellSpark Health can help your organization or request a demo, contact us at 1-877-224-7350 or [email protected].

Sources:

[1] Buttorff C, Ruder T, Bauman M. Multiple Chronic Conditions in the United States pdf icon[PDF – 392 KB]external icon. Santa Monica, CA: Rand Corp.; 2017.

[2] Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services. National Health Expenditures 2017 Highlights pdf icon[PDF – 74 KB]external icon.

[3] American Diabetes Association. Economic Costs of Diabetes in the U.S. in 2017. Diabetes Care 2018;41(5):917-928. PubMed abstractexternal icon.

Five Simple Tips to Getting A Better Night’s Sleep

Not Getting Enough Sleep Can Hurt your Health.

Can’t stop yawning? Getting enough sleep is important to keep your energy levels up as well as help you function normally throughout your day. Sleep plays a big role in good health. Overtime, not getting enough sleep can develop into a problem that hurts your health and well-being.

According to The National Sleep Foundation, adults should get 7-9 hours of sleep each day. However, many adults say they do not get the recommended amount of sleep. While this may be fine for a day or two, not getting the recommended sleep overtime can lead to health problems. Lack of sleep can increase your risk for heart disease, stroke or heart attack. In addition, poor sleep can cause high blood pressure, diabetes or obesity. Sleeping problems such as sleep apnea or insomnia can develop. With not enough sleep, unhealthy habits are born that could hurt your overall health including less motivation to be active, higher stress levels, and have a terrible nutritional diet. Sleep is critical to good health. Here are some tips on how you can establish better sleep habits.

Five Simple Tips to Better Sleep

1. Start a sleep schedule
Keep a consistent sleep schedule. Try to go to bed at the same time each night and wake up at the same time every morning. Be sure to include the weekends.

2. Cut off foods and drinks a few hours before bedtime
Avoid eating or drinking a few hours before you go to bed, especially foods high in fat and sugar. Plus, caffeine and alcohol beverages that could interfere with your sleep.

3. Make your bedroom a sleep-inducing space
Keep your bedroom dark and at a temperature that is comfortable for you. Avoid watching television so you have a quiet space. Avoid artificial light.

4. Spend some time outdoors in natural light earlier in the day
Go for a morning or afternoon walk to get some natural light that helps improve your mood.

5. Enjoy some physical activity during the day
Avoid exercising a few hours before you sleep but make time for physical activity during the day.

To learn more tips and information, contact WellSpark Health at 1-877-224-7350 or [email protected].

Why Good Nutrition Should Matter to You

A Strong Immune System, More Energy and a Reduced Risk in Chronic Diseases Are Just A Few Benefits to a Healthy Diet.

Good nutrition is an important part of living a healthy lifestyle. The food choices you make affect your health as well as how you feel. When you combine a well-balanced diet and physical activity, you can maintain a good weight and reduce your risk of chronic diseases.

How Nutrition Impacts Your Overall Health

Unhealthy eating habits have greatly contributed to obesity in the United States with about one-third of U.S. adults (33.8%) being obese and approximately 17% (or 12.5 million) of children and adolescents aged 2—19 years being obese.1 A poor diet is associated with major health risks that includes heart disease, type 2 diabetes, heart attack, stroke and hypertension. When you eat healthy foods, you are protecting yourself from these health problems as well as nourishing your body. Making small changes to your diet can go a long way and put you on a path to better health. Now that you know the impact that nutrition has on your body, you can enjoy the many benefits of having a healthy diet.

The Benefits to Good Nutrition

Maintains Your Immune System
A healthy diet keeps your immune system strong, balanced and ready to fight against viruses and infections such as colds and flu. Some nutrients to support immune function are vitamin A, C, D, E, Iron and Zinc that are found in various foods such as strawberries, oranges, salmon, spinach and poultry.

Improves Your Well-Being
Eating a well-balanced diet reduces physical and mental health because good nutrition enables people to be more active. You can protect your health and well-being by ensuring that your diet has the essential fats, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals.  

Gives You Energy
Our bodies get their energy from the foods and liquids we ingest. The main nutrients our body uses for energy are protein, fats and carbohydrates found in whole-grain breads and starchy vegetables. Water is just as important to prevent dehydration that causes a lack of energy.

Increases Your Focus
Food affects the way we think. When your body is low in glucose, the brain does not receive the energy it needs to remain focused and sharp. Eating fruits and vegetables throughout your day will keep your mind engaged.

Positively Affects Your Mood
A diet rich in protein, carbohydrates and low in fat have a positive effect on your mood because it provides a supply of iron and omega-3 fatty acids. When people feel happy they are more likely to make healthy food decisions.

To learn more tips and information, contact WellSpark Health at 1-877-224-7350 or [email protected]

References

[1] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. U.S. Obesity Trends. 2011. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/databases.html

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