SelfHelpWorks Founder Responds to Study on High Heart Disease/Stroke in US Employees

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A new study finds that 95% of US employees have at least one of seven identified risk factors for developing heart disease and/or stroke, at the root of which are three unhealthy behaviors. SelfHelpWorks founder Lou Ryan responds to the study and explains the role that cognitive behavioral training can play in reducing risk factors to create a healthier, more productive US workforce and reduce healthcare costs for companies.

According to a recent study, 95% of regularly employed people in the US have at least one of seven risk factors for developing heart disease and/or stroke. Three of the risk factors are tough-to-break behaviors: tobacco use, inactivity, and poor diet. These lifestyle issues are major contributors to the other four risk factors noted in the study: high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high blood glucose, and unhealthy weight. Combined, these risk factors increase employer medical spending by a whopping 200% per person, per year. In response to the study, Lou Ryan, founder of behavioral change company SelfHelpWorks, emphasized the need for greater implementation of workplace programs designed specifically to help employees break the stubborn habits that lead to chronic conditions.

“Heart disease and stroke are largely avoidable,” said Ryan. “The problem is that people with emotionally charged unhealthy habits don’t know how to change without help. Contrary to popular belief, behavior change starts in the mind, and if more employers understood this and offered programs that dealt with the mental force behind hard-to-break unhealthy habits – like smoking, drinking too much alcohol or eating junk food - many of the risk factors in the workforce would be eliminated.”

The study, published in the journal Health Affairs, found a significant reduction of risk factors for employees whose companies offered wellness solutions versus those whose companies offered insufficient wellness options or no wellness program at all.

The need for effective behavior change programs in the workforce, as a part of overall wellness programs, is evident. To learn more about SelfHelpWorks and the science behind their behavior change programs, click here.

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Bryan Noar
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