1) Building a Healthier Workplace: Encouraging Tobacco Cessation in North
Tobacco use in North Carolina is a pressing public health issue, affecting
both personal well-being and the financial health of businesses. According to the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), 14.5%
of North Carolina adults are current smokers, and this takes a toll on
both health and wallets. Employers have a pivotal role to play in addressing
this challenge, not only to ensure the welfare of their employees but
also to realize significant cost savings.
The financial impact of tobacco use is substantial. The CDC estimates that
employers in the United States spend $3,856 per smoker each year, covering
direct medical costs and losses incurred due to decreased productivity.
Smokers tend to miss more workdays due to illness, averaging 6.16 days
annually compared to 3.86 days for non-smokers. Additionally, employees
who take frequent smoking breaks work one month less per year than their
non-smoking counterparts. Research highlights that tobacco cessation programs
are both cost-effective and lifesaving. The return on investment (ROI)
for employers becomes positive after just one year, mainly due to increased
employee productivity. Further cost savings emerge after two years of
providing cessation benefits to employees.
Encouraging tobacco cessation programs is a win-win for employers. By investing
in these programs, employers can reduce healthcare costs, boost employee
productivity, and foster a workplace culture that promotes overall well-being.
The North Carolina Institute of Medicine’s Healthy North Carolina
2030 report 9.6% of North Carolinians were exposed to secondhand smoke
in the workplace in 2018. This exposure influences young people to take
up smoking and makes quitting more challenging for individuals of all
ages. As employers take the lead in combatting tobacco use in North Carolina,
they not only enhance their financial bottom line but also create a supportive,
thriving work environment for their employees, leading to a healthier
and more productive workforce.
The HealthFirst Center at Catawba Valley Medical Center is your resource
for transforming your workplace into a tobacco-free environment. We offer
valuable information and resources for this transition and can connect
you with a dedicated tobacco treatment specialist. Our specialist will
provide your employees with a comprehensive tobacco cessation program
to support them in achieving a permanent tobacco-free status. For further
details, please reach out to Liliana Adrian at 828-732-6204 or by email at
2) Diabetes Prevention Program
96 million American adults, more than 1 in 3, have prediabetes. Of those
that have prediabetes, 8 out of 10 do not know they have it. Both of these
numbers are staggering, and even more impactful when you understand that
prediabetes increases your risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease,
What is prediabetes? It is a health condition marked by blood sugar that
is higher than normal but not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes.
While ultimately, we want to avoid prediabetes, receiving a diagnosis
of prediabetes could be viewed as a positive, as it means you still have
time to make changes that will prevent the progression to diabetes.
In 2010, the CDC established the National Diabetes Prevention Program (NDPP)
to focus public and private efforts on preventing diabetes in communities
across the country. The hallmark of the NDPP is the 12-month CDC-recognized
lifestyle change program. This program consists of three elements:
- evidence-based curriculum for educating participants
- specially trained lifestyle coach to guide participants through the information
and facilitate group discussions
- support group of individuals with the common goal of preventing progression
of prediabetes to diabetes
During the program, participants have two primary goals:
- lose 5% of their body weight
- increase their physical activity minutes
I know what you’re thinking – “12 months, that’s
a long time and our employees won’t commit to that.” However,
this structured lifestyle change program has been shown to cut the risk
of developing type 2 diabetes by 58% (for individuals over 60 –
71%). Aside from improving health and quality of life by avoiding the
onset of disease, your employees would also be saving themselves in medical
cost. The American Diabetes Association has calculated that “people
with diagnosed diabetes incur average medical expenditures of $16,752
per year”. If you provide medical coverage to your employees, then
at least a portion of that cost will come to you.
Now that you’re interested, let CVHS help you. We offer corporate
DPP programs and will come onsite to lead the group sessions with your
employees. We’ve actually found that the corporate-based groups
are more successful in their weight loss and meeting their overall goals,
when compared to general community groups. The workplace connection held
by corporate participants provides some added endurance to see the 12
months through, and we’ve all seen what a little friendly competition
in the workplace can do for reaching goals and building a stronger culture.
For more information about CVHS’ Diabetes Prevention Program, contact
Renee Greene, Diabetes Education Coordinator, at
Diabetes Treatment in Hickory, NC | Catawba Valley Diabetes Management
CDC National Diabetes Prevention Program infographic
3) DOT Medical Exam and Commercial Motor Vehicle Certification
Drivers are critical to highway safety. For commercial motor vehicle (CMV)
drivers, the most important safety feature is YOU- the driver! Each time
you turn the key, you are responsible for your own safety, as well as
the safety of all the people sharing the road with you. The physical qualification
examination you take for your Medical Examiner’s Certificate, confirms
that you are healthy enough to safely perform the demanding job of a CMV
driver and keep our roads safe.
Catawba Valley Occupational Health offers drug screen testing and DOT examinations
performed by a certified Medical Examiner to assist you in obtaining your
certificate. (Click here to read more.)
National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners
The National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners (National Registry)
is a federal program that establishes requirements for healthcare professionals
that perform physical qualification examinations for truck and bus drivers.
The registry ensures that all medical examiners sufficiently understand
how FMCSA regulations apply to CMV drivers. To become a certified medical
examiner (ME) and be listed on the National Registry, healthcare professionals
must complete training and testing on the FMCSA physical qualifications
standards and guidelines. This registry was created to enhance CMV driver
health and reduce highway crashes.
About the Exam
A Department of Transportation (DOT) physical examination must be conducted
by a licensed medical examiner listed on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety
Administration (FMCSA) National Registry.
A DOT physical exam is valid for up to 24 months. The medical examiner
may also issue a certificate for less than 24 months when it is desirable
to monitor a health condition such as high blood pressure, diabetes, or
sleep apnea. Drivers may consult the website for frequently asked questions
about the medical requirements.
Drug & Alcohol Testing
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), along with the
Department of Transportation (DOT), require that persons subject to the
commercial driver’s license (CDL) requirements and their employers
follow drug and alcohol testing rules. These rules include procedures
for testing, frequency of testing and substances to be tested for.
Once the medical examiner finds the person examined to be physically qualified
to drive a commercial motor vehicle, they will furnish one copy of the
results to the person who was examined and complete a Medical Examiners’
Certificate, which is submitted to the National Registry.
For more information or to schedule an appointment contact Occupational
Health at 828-326-3230.
4) Healthy Eating Over the Holidays
Holidays are often centered around family, friends, social gatherings,
work events and much more! Most of these events almost always have lots
of foods. Some of these dishes you may not have in your everyday diet, which is probably
not a bad thing. While these yummy foods remind us of childhood memories,
excite us for the holiday season, and provide comfort, they are often
filled with lots of added sugars, saturated fats, and sodium.
It’s important that we cherish these times and dishes, but we also
need to be mindful of the amount that we are eating.
Did you know that the average American gains five pounds over the holidays?
Where do you think this added weight comes from? Here are some common reasons.
- Alcoholic and other sugary beverages
- Larger portions
- Cooking methods
- Cooking oils
- Mindless eating
I challenge you to Maintain, Don’t Gain!
Here are a few holiday tips to help you stay on track with a healthy lifestyle.
- Plan for the Party. Make sure you are eating regularly scheduled meals.
Skipping meals to save up for the feast often leads to overindulging.
Instead of focusing only on avoiding or restricting yourself of certain
dishes, consider taking a healthy dish to the party like a fruit and vegetable
tray or hummus with whole grain crackers. While you are at the party,
be intentional to create a balanced plate with all the food groups. Include
your fruits and veggies, choose lean proteins, low fat dairy, and healthy fats.
- Budget the Buffet. Start with a small portion of each food you would like
to try. Eat slowly and mindfully, frequently checking in with yourself
and assessing your fullness level. Wait 15-20 minutes before getting seconds;
then choose wisely. Make room for dessert or plan to have later. When
deciding on a dessert, choose your favorite dessert and request a smaller
portion or try bit size portions of a few desserts. Choose water or unsweetened
beverages and limit alcohol intake. Beverages such as eggnog, ciders,
hot chocolate, and lattes can be higher in sugar.
- Makeover Recipes. Using herbs and spices as well as salt-free seasonings
will help ensure we are not going above our daily sodium limit. Go easy
on the sauces and gravies as they can be high in fat and sodium. Cut the
sugar and fat in half for recipes that call for those ingredients. Limit
recipes with lots of cheese, sour cream and mayonnaise or consider substituting
with Greek yogurt. Sliced almonds make a delicious, crunch topping instead
of French friend onions. You can also use low sodium chicken broth in
your mashed potatoes and limit your butter.
- Ensure you are getting enough sleep and physical activity. Holidays can
be taxing, mentally and emotionally. Make sure you are practicing good
sleep hygiene, aiming for 7-9 hours of sleep each night. Sleep deprivation
leads to less self-control and cravings for sugary and fatty foods. Limit
your caffeine intake to mornings only, ending 10 hours before bedtime.
Plan to stay active throughout the holidays and at your holiday events.
Take a walk after meals to help regulate your blood sugar. Play games
with your family such as flag football, tag or whiffle ball. Walk to see
Christmas lights instead of driving. Park farther away in the parking
lot and walk briskly to your destination. Use the stairs instead of the
elevator when able. Plan activities that do not involve eating such as
volunteering in your community, winter hiking, or visiting and museum
- Enjoy the holidays. Overindulge? Remember… you can always start
again at the next meal or the next day. Eat mindfully and stay active!
The Health First Center with Catawba Valley Health System offers a wide
variety of educational topics such as Healthy Eating Habits Over the Holidays.
If you are interested in learning more about our Health and Nutrition
presentation topics, please reach out to our Registered Dietitian, Lindsie
Covington, MS, RDN, LDN at
email@example.com or 828-326-2852.