Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, and 99% of the population has at least one of seven cardiovascular health risks. This cost is estimated to be $207 billion per year in medical expenditures and lost productivity. But a new study suggests workplace programs that address heart disease risk factors in daily working life could be effective in lowering the prevalence of the condition.  

“The workplace is an ideal setting for improving heart health because approximately 151 million US adults are in the civilian non-institutionalized workforce, and the labor force participation rate exceeds 60 percent,” the researchers wrote in the study published in Health Affairs today.

Using a scoring index called the Worksite Health Achievement Index (WHAI), which was developed a year ago by the American Heart Association, researchers at IBM company Truven Health Analytics and the Center for Workplace Health Research assessed the comprehensiveness of 20 different employers’ heart health programs and support structures to their employees’ cardiovascular health. One-fifth of employees had cardiovascular disease, and it was very common for them to have one or more risk factors: for example, nearly 72% were at an unhealthy weight and over 66% had high blood pressure. Employees spent an average of $329 per year on cardiovascular disease.

“This study represents the start of a major effort to address the types of organizational interventions that employers can introduce to improve heart health and financial outcomes that benefit both workers and businesses,” the researchers write.

To learn how to increase the heart health of yourself and your staff, learn about the SelfCare for HealthCare™ program. Our unique program is aimed at improving the support and care that nurses and caretakers receive.