ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Folic Acid Might Offer Allergy Relief
Herbal Remedy Could Halt Peanut Allergy
'Safe' Ozone Levels May Not Be for Some
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Alternative Treatments May Boost IVF Success
Acupuncture May Help Restore Lost Sense of Smell
Maggots as Good as Gel in Leg Ulcer Treatments
ANIMAL CARE
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
Safe Toys for Dogs
BONES & JOINTS
Most Women With Osteoporosis Unaware of Raised Fracture Risk
Returning to the Road Tricky After Injury
Tequila Plant May Help Fight Bone Loss
CANCER
No Verdict Yet on Grape Seed Extract vs. Breast Cancer
Want to Stop Cancer? You Can, Experts Say
Many Cancer Survivors Don't Adopt Healthy Lifestyle
CAREGIVING
Robots May Come to Aging Boomers' Rescue
Undoing the 'Big Baby' Trend
Study Casts Doubt on Influential Hospital Safety Survey
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Bad Marriages Harder on Women's Health
Obesity Linked to Heart Failure Risk
Exercise May Blunt Salt's Effect on Hypertension
COSMETIC
With Psoriasis, the Internet May Offer Hope
New Genetic Links to Baldness Discovered
Study Evaluates Laser Therapies for Hair Removal
DENTAL, ORAL
Gum Disease Treatment Doesn't Cut Preterm Birth Risk
Laser Technology Spots Cavities Before They Start
Health Tip: At Risk for Gingivitis
DIABETES
24 Million Americans Had Diabetes in 2007
Laughter May Lower Heart Attack Risk in Diabetics
Abnormal Heart Rhythm Boosts Death Risk for Diabetics
DIET, NUTRITION
Vitamin B12 Key to Aging Brain
5 Reasons why you could gain weight while dieting
Eating Healthy : You Can Live Longer
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Improved Fungicides May Be Easier on Environment
Hypertension May Hit Black Males Earlier
1976 Italian Dioxin Release Damaged Babies' Thyroids
EYE CARE, VISION
High Temps Degrade Contact Lens Solution: Study
Ordinary Chores Cause Half of All Eye Injuries
It's a Whole New Outlook for Cataract Patients
FITNESS
Being Active an Hour a Day Puts Brakes on Weight Gain
Simple Steps Get Walkers Moving
'Safe' Ozone Levels May Not Be for Some
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
New Guidelines Issued for Management of IBS
Soothing Imagery May Help Rid Some Kids of Stomach Pain
HRT Use Raises Risk of Stomach Trouble
GENERAL HEALTH
Common Social Groups and Race, Seem to Help People Relate
Uncover Why Turmeric Helps You Heal
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Using Light Therapy to Silence Harmful Brain Activity
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Obese People Seem to Do Better With Heart Disease
Women Who Run May Benefit From Extra Folic Acid
A Little Chocolate May Do the Heart Good
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
More Medicinal Uses for Pomegranate
Hand Washing 10 Times a Day May Help Keep Flu Away
Chinese 'Devil Dung' Plant Could Be a Swine Flu Fighter
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Exercise in Adolescence May Cut Risk of Deadly Brain Tumor
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
Too Many Infants Short on Vitamin D
MEN'S HEALTH
Strenuous Daily Workout May Keep Cancer at Bay
Vigorous Exercise Cuts Stroke Risk for Men, Not Women
Countdown to Hair Loss
MENTAL HEALTH
A Little Alcohol May Stave Off Alzheimer's
Worries About Weight Are Tied to Teen Suicide Tries
Estrogen May Help Men's Hearts
PAIN
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Woman in America Are Delaying Motherhood, Study Says
Mom's Extra Pregnancy Pounds May Raise Child's Heart Risks
Acupuncture May Ease Depression During Pregnancy
SENIORS
Seniors Cope With Sleep Loss Better Than Young Adults
Rapid Weight Loss in Seniors Signals Higher Dementia Risk
Living Alone Increases Odds of Developing Dementia
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
WOMEN'S HEALTH
How Much Fish to Eat While Pregnant?
Spice Compounds May Stem Tumor Growth
Varicose Veins May Mask Larger Problem
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Workplace Wellness Seems to Really Work

(HealthDay News) -- Workplace wellness programs are an effective way to reduce major risk factors for heart disease, such as smoking, obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes, says a new American Heart Association policy statement.

Each year, heart disease costs the United States about $304.6 billion, the association says. Companies spend 25 to 30 percent of their annual medical costs on employees with significant health risks, mainly because of their increased likelihood of experiencing heart disease and stroke, it says.

But the financial burden also falls on workers, it says, in the form of higher premiums, co-pays and deductibles, reduction or elimination of coverage and trade-offs between insurance benefits and wage or salary increases.

"Research shows that companies can save anywhere from $3 to $15 for every $1 spent on health and wellness within 12 to 18 months of implementing a [workplace wellness] program," the statement's lead author, Mercedes Carnethon, an assistant professor of preventive medicine at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine, said in a news release from the heart association.

"Beyond cost savings and increased productivity, visionary employers are realizing the value of an employee's total health," she said. "An effective worksite wellness program can attract exceptional employees, enhance morale and reduce organizational conflict."

More than 130 million Americans are employed, according to the association, which means that workplace wellness programs have the potential to reach a sizable population.

"We are making great strides in workplace wellness, but we also know that half of employees don't have access to these programs, mainly because they work in small companies or for employers that have a small number of employees at multiple sites," Carnethon said. "We are hoping this paper shows employers large and small the benefits these programs may provide to both their employees and their bottom line."

Keys to a successful program, according to the policy statement, include:

* Smoking/tobacco cessation and prevention
* Regular physical activity
* Stress management/reduction
* Early detection/screening
* Nutrition education and promotion
* Weight management
* Disease management
* Cardiovascular disease education, including cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and automated external defibrillator (AED) training
* Work environment changes that encourage healthy behaviors and promote occupational health and safety

The policy statement was published Sept 30 in Circulation.

SOURCES: American Heart Association, news release, Sept. 30, 2009