ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
'Safe' Ozone Levels May Not Be for Some
Childhood Food Allergies on the Rise
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
38% of U.S. Adults Use Alternative Treatments
Yoga May Bring Calm to Breast Cancer Treatment
No Verdict Yet on Grape Seed Extract vs. Breast Cancer
ANIMAL CARE
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Safe Toys for Dogs
Beware of Dog Bites
BONES & JOINTS
Genes May Help Drive Rotator Cuff Injury
Scientists Discover How Osteoarthritis Destroys Cartilage
Occupational Therapy Plus Exercise Benefits Osteoarthritis
CANCER
Breast Self-Exam Rates Go Up With Counseling
Many Cancer Patients Turn to Complementary Medicine
Many Ignore Symptoms of Bladder Trouble
CAREGIVING
Recession Scrambling Health Spending in U.S.
U.S. Mental Health Spending Rises, But Many Still Left Out
Timing May Matter in Organ Donation Decisions
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Night Shift Work Hard on the Heart
Salt Boosts Blood Pressure in High-Risk Patients
Walk 100 Steps a Minute for 'Moderate' Exercise
COSMETIC
Mouse Study Finds Molecule That Tells Hair to Grow
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
Gum Chewing May Cut Craving for Snacks
DENTAL, ORAL
Rheumatoid Arthritis May Harm Gums
Acupuncture May Ease Anxiety Over Dental Work
Gum Disease Might Boost Cancer Risk
DIABETES
Doctors Urged to Screen Diabetics for Sleep Apnea
Drug May Not Help Diabetes-Related Eye Damage
24 Million Americans Had Diabetes in 2007
DIET, NUTRITION
Oregano Shown to be the Most Powerful Culinary Herb
Is Coffee Good or Bad for Your Health?
Fasting on Alternate Days May Make Dieting Easier
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Exhaust From Railroad Diesel Linked to Lung Ailments
Vest Monitors 'Individual' Air Pollution
Greenhouse Gases Hazardous to Your Health
EYE CARE, VISION
Vision Test for Young Children Called Unreliable
Antioxidant-Rich Diet May Protect Against Eye Disease
Ordinary Chores Cause Half of All Eye Injuries
FITNESS
Simple Exercise Precautions To Help Keep Baby Boomers Fit
Almost Two-Thirds of Americans Meet Exercise Guidelines
Exercise Cuts Lung Cancer Risk in Ex-Smokers by 45%
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Gum Chewing May Speed Colon Surgery Recovery
Japanese Herbals May Ease Gastro Woes
Olive Oil May Protect Against Bowel Disease
GENERAL HEALTH
Spot light on Dani Antman New Lionheart teacher
Eating Nuts May Help Cholesterol Levels
Multivitamins Might Prolong Life
HEAD & NECK
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
E-Mailing Your Way to Healthier Habits
Save Your Aging Brain, Try Surfing The Web
Subway Defibrillators Save Lives
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Years of Heavy Smoking Raises Heart Risks
An Apple a Day May Help Keep Heart Disease Away
Whole Grains Lower Risk of Heart Failure
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Bacterial Infections May Succumb to Honey
The HPV Vaccine: Preventative Medicine or Human Sacrifice?
Swine Flu Is Now a Pandemic Says W.H.O.
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Bullying Seems to Affect Kids Years Later
Daily Exercise at School Yields Rewards
Music of Mozart Soothes the Preemie Baby
MEN'S HEALTH
More Vitamin C May Mean Less Chance of Gout
Physical Activity May Prolong Survival After Colon Cancer
Varicose Veins May Mask Larger Problem
MENTAL HEALTH
Musicians' Brains Tuned to Emotions in Sound
The 3LS Wellness Program for Reversing Chronic Symptoms and Creating Lasting Health
A Simple 'Thank You' Brings Rewards to All
PAIN
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Acupuncture May Relieve Acid Indigestation In Pregnancy
Music of Mozart Soothes the Preemie Baby
Acupuncture May Ease Depression During Pregnancy
SENIORS
Eating Well And Keeping Active As You Grow Old Will Help You Stay Sharp
Life Expectancy in U.S. Hits New High
Nighttime Urination Linked to Higher Death Rate Among Elderly
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
Moderate Aerobics May Ease Insomnia Symptoms
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Natural Therapies for Menopause
Broccoli May Help Battle Breast Cancer
Women Smokers Lose 14.5 Years Off Life Span
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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