National Aeronautical Space Agency (NASA), an executive Federal Agency dedicated to Space flight, highly values exploration. The Agency’s exploration success depends on employees’ detailed attention to the safety and health of the astronauts and their fellow Earth-bound employees. For decades NASA’s occupational health programs have maximized the opportunities of national health initiatives as well as internal resources. And, they have led the way to improve internal programs for the maintenance of a workforce that operates at its highest level of physical and mental well-being.
My grand daughter asked me “How many times does a heart beat in a lifetime?” I said that’s a good question so let’s do the math. If we average 70 beats a minute x 60 minutes x 24 hours x 365 days x 100 years = 3,679,200,000 (that’s 3.68 billion).
She said “Wow I better take care of my heart if it has to do all that work.”
Employers that invest in workplace safety and health can expect to reduce fatalities, injuries, and illnesses. This will result in cost savings in a variety of areas, such as lowering workers’ compensation costs and medical expenses, avoiding OSHA penalties, and reducing costs to train replacement employees and conduct accident investigations. In addition, employers often find that changes made to improve workplace safety and health can result in significant improvements to their organization’s productivity and financial performance.
People with very low or very high BMIs tend to have the greatest health risks. Even so, BMI is only one factor in your overall health. For example, if your BMI falls into the normal weight category, you will still have a higher risk of health problems if you:
- Smoke cigarettes
- Do not participate in regular physical activity
- Eat lots of nutrient-poor foods with added fat and sugar.
If your BMI is in the overweight category, you will have a lower overall health risk if you:
- Get regular physical activity
- Have blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol levels that are within normal limits.
This means BMI is one aspect of your health to discuss with your care provider. Together, you can decide if other assessments need to be done and whether lifestyle changes such as eating smarter and moving more will improve your health.
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), all adults — even seemingly healthy ones — should undergo regular physical examinations at their healthcare provider’s recommended frequency. The purposes of these exams are to:
- Screen for diseases
- Assess the risk of future medical problems
- Encourage a healthy lifestyle
- Update vaccinations
- Maintain a relationship with a doctor in case of illness
Today, preventive services are customized, taking into account an individual’s health status, risk factors and personal and family health history.
- Buckle up every age, every seat, every trip.
- Put on a helmet during outdoor activities, including riding bikes and skating.
- Put on sunscreen and avoid indoor tanning.
- Brush and floss teeth.
- Wash hands with clear running water and apply soap. Rub hands for at least 20 seconds, then rinse.
- Be active with your kids. Children and adolescents need a total of 60 minutes of physical activity every day.
- Be smoke-free, and protect your children from second hand smoke.
- Get a flu vaccine. Everyone needs a flu vaccine – every flu season.
- Be a healthy role model. Show your child what it means to be healthy.
Psychosocial environment refers to the culture and climate of the workplace. Examples of the psychosocial environment of a workplace include respect for work-life balance, mechanisms to recognize and reward good performance, valuing employee wellness, encourage employee feedback about organizational practices, zero tolerance for harassment, bullying and discrimination, ensuring employee psychological safety and health.
Health and wellbeing are affected by many factors, and those that are associated with ill health, disability, disease or death are known as risk factors. Risk factors are presented here individually, however in practice they do not operate in isolation. They often coexist and interact with one another.
Behavioural risk factors that can be eliminated or reduced through lifestyle or behavioral changes include:
- tobacco smoking
- excessive alcohol consumption
- poor diet and nutrition
- physical inactivity
- excessive sun exposure
- insufficient vaccination
- unprotected sexual activity.
Biomedical risk factors may be influenced by a combination of genetic, lifestyle and other broad factors. Biomedical risk factors include:
- overweight and obesity
- high blood pressure
- high blood cholesterol
- impaired glucose tolerance
A healthy workplace will:
- Improve employee health outcomes
- Make it easier to attract and retain qualified employees
- Lower absenteeism
- Reduce health benefit costs
- Enhance morale
- Reduce risk of injury
- Improve job performance
Being physically active is important to prevent heart disease and stroke, the nation’s No. 1 and No. 5 killers. To improve overall cardiovascular health, we suggest at least 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise or 75 minutes per week of vigorous exercise (or a combination of moderate and vigorous activity). Thirty minutes a day, five times a week is an easy goal to remember. You will also experience benefits even if you divide your time into two or three segments of 10 to 15 minutes per day.
For people who would benefit from lowering their blood pressure or cholesterol, we recommend 40 minutes of aerobic exercise of moderate to vigorous intensity three to four times a week to lower the risk for heart attack and stroke.