Is Your Company Culture Hurting Your Employees’ Health?

Working hard and putting in long hours is often touted as a sure-fire way to get ahead and be successful, but it’s also bad for your health. A recent study published in the U.K. medical journal The Lancet found people who work more than 55 hours a week have a 33 percent higher risk of suffering a stroke than those working 35 to 40 hours a week. In addition, working long hours may be associated with a higher risk of coronary heart disease. With this information, companies with cultures that reward success at any cost or simply sitting at a desk for long hours may want to reconsider their approach. A culture that combines a drive for productivity with a balanced approach to work and life could also result in healthier employees — which could mean lower health care costs. It also could mean lower turnover. High voluntary turnover is …

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4 Rules for Medication Safety

Medication errors are all too common. Prescription drug use is widespread and increasingly risky for those taking multiple medicines. In addition, fake online pharmacies are illegally selling prescription drugs that often contain the wrong substances or harmful dosages. While drugs are lifesaving for hundreds of conditions, misuse of medicine in the U.S. has led to nearly 700,000 emergency visits and 100,000 hospitalizations per year. To lower your risk of getting sick from your medicine, keep a close watch on what you’re taking. 1. Know what each drug does. When your health care provider prescribes a new medicine, ask what it does and how it will help you. Learn how to use it and what to expect. Read and save the information for every prescription or over-the-counter (OTC) medicine you use. Ask your provider or pharmacist about side effects. Many medicines and dietary supplements produce some degree of side effects, which your provider and pharmacist …

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What You Lose When You Don’t Use Your Paid Time Off

What You Lose When You Don’t Use Your Paid Time Off

Early in her career, Lisa Martin says she was trying so hard to earn her keep and prove herself that she often gave up her allotted vacation, personal sick time and sometimes even lunch hours. One year, she ended up leaving an entire week and a half on the table, and only about 3 of those days rolled over into the next year. “Looking back, I understand why I worked so hard, but I wish I had taken more vacations or at least a couple of 4-day weekends here and there,” she says. “My stress levels were through the roof, my metabolism came to a screeching halt and I gained a ton of weight that I’m still working very hard to shed in my early 30s.” Martin’s experience isn’t unique. According to a study by Oxford Economics for the U.S. Travel Association, U.S. employees lost 169 million days off in 2013 …

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Mindfulness Meditation Soothes Low Back Pain

Mindfulness Meditation Soothes Low Back Pain

At some point in their lives, about 80% of Americans suffer from back pain, most often in the lower back, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). Rest and over-the-counter pain relievers help most people get over a bout of back strain and muscle aches. But for about 20%, the condition becomes chronic — which the NINDS defines as low back pain that persists for 12 weeks or longer after treatment. It’s not surprising that this ongoing discomfort can negatively impact all areas of life, including the ability to work productively. In fact, the NINDS points out that low back pain is a leading reason why employees miss workdays and the most common cause of job-related disability. Pain relievers seem like logical choices for treating ongoing low back pain, but research shows they offer little relief and may create new problems. A recent analysis of data …

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How to Eat Chocolate Without the Guilt

How to Eat Chocolate Without the Guilt

For many so-called chocoholics, there’s always an excuse to indulge in their favorite treat. Fortunately, enjoying chocolate doesn’t have to wait for a holiday and it doesn’t have to be unhealthy. Research has shown chocolate can actually be a healthy food choice (for heart and brain health, especially) – if you don’t go overboard. The key is knowing what kind of chocolate is the healthiest and how much is too much. The Healthy and Not-So-Healthy Side of Chocolate While researchers are still looking into exactly what compounds in chocolate may promote good health, the findings so far should make chocolate lovers smile. Chocolate is made through an intricate process involving harvesting, fermenting and roasting cocoa beans – and cocoa appears to be the key to its health benefits. Scientists have found that cocoa flavonols, a distinct class of naturally occurring compounds called flavonoids found in plant-based foods, can positively influence the body’s vascular …

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