According to the CDC, heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. What does this mean for you? Heart health should be a major focus of your workplace wellness programs. Your employees spend around eight hours per day, five days per week on the job, and supporting a health-conscious work environment can lower your direct costs, such as insurance premiums and workers’ compensation claims, as well as indirect costs such as loss of productivity and presenteeism.

February is American Heart Month, so it’s a perfect opportunity to raise awareness by putting some of the following workplace health initiatives into practice:

  • Heart-health education. Talking to your employees about heart health is a great place to start. Organize a presentation that outlines risks, prevention and practical methods to incorporate heart-healthy choices into everyday life. When employees understand how their lifestyle choices and family history affect overall risk, they will be more likely to actively engage in prevention.
  • Biometric screenings. You can lay a foundation for your employees to take control of their heart health by hosting regular, on-site screenings to measure things like blood pressure and check cholesterol levels. Screenings should be followed by professional feedback and possible clinical referral.
  • Lifestyle counseling. Heart risk from unhealthy eating habits isn’t limited to people who are overweight or obese, so all employees should have access to one-on-one or group lifestyle counseling with an emphasis on healthy food choices
  • Emergency training. Offer access to a nationally recognized course on CPR that includes use of a defibrillator.

About 600,000 people die of heart disease in the United States each year, according to the CDC. Advancements in science and technology have greatly increased the chances that someone will survive with heart disease, but early intervention through awareness and availability of treatment is still a big key to success. By working with your employees to take control of their heart health, you show that you’re invested in their overall wellness.

Mary Parsons is retired from a 30-year career in the insurance industry. She worked in the claims department of a major insurance carrier as a claims adjuster, manager and a member of a catastrophe team. Since her retirement, she has developed a career as a freelance writer. As an insurance professional, she has been a contributor to several insurance websites.