Wellness News Roundup–Health Rights for Same-Sex Couples, Yoga Day, Pop-Tart Mysteries, and More

Here’s your weekly roundup of the latest health and wellness news! This week, our team shares these stories.


Healthy Decisions on Same-Sex Marriage

wellness newsYou’ve seen the news. You’ve seen the rainbow-colored Facebook profile pictures. Last Friday, the U.S. Supreme Court granted same-sex couples the right to marry in every state. It was a momentous day for gay rights–especially when you consider how fast public opinion on the issue has changed–but also, for health insurance. The Affordable Care Act requires all insurance companies to offer the same health plans to people of all sexual orientations, but under the recent ruling, workers can now add their same-sex spouses to employer-provided health insurance plans. Read the full story on… [Read more…]

Health & Wellness News Roundup–U.S. Bans Trans Fat, Cheating Sleep, and More

Here’s your weekly roundup of the latest health and wellness news! This week, our team shares these stories.


wellness newsIn three years, the U.S. food supply will not contain artificial trans fat (at least, in theory). Research shows that partially hydrogenated oils, used for frying and in baked goods, aren’t safe and contribute to heart disease. According to last week’s Food and Drug Administration ruling, companies must start to phase out trans fat from products. Many have already begun to switch to palm, coconut, or soybean oils. Trans fat will probably not completely disappear. If food companies can prove that artificial trans fat is not a health risk, then they can gain approval from the FDA for specific uses of the oils. [Read more…]

Health & Wellness News Roundup — 10,000 Steps, Free Food, Workout Tricks, and More

Here’s your weekly roundup of the latest health and wellness news! This week, our team shares these stories:


Where did that number come from?

wellness newsThis might blow your mind. People are commonly advised to walk 10,000 steps a day, but the number has no medical basis. It didn’t originate in America but actually in 1960s Japan. A company created the “man-po-kei”–man translates to “10,000,” po to “step,” and kei to “meter.” (We call it a pedometer.) Ten thousand is a favorable number in Japanese culture, and therefore, a good number for man-po-kei marketing purposes.  [Read more…]

Health & Wellness News Roundup — People Analytics, Fighting Over Fitness, Epic Salad, and More

Here’s your weekly roundup of the latest health and wellness news! This week, our team shares these stories:


wellness newsPeople analytics, the growing phenomenon.

Using wearable devices to monitor employees is a popular way for companies to cut down on healthcare costs. Fitbit, the Apple Watch, and other wearables track activity, stress levels, and sleep. These data points are used to predict and incentivize employee actions. It might sound a little Big Brother-like, but we might as well get comfortable with “people analytics.” It’s used in almost every industry–it makes sense that analytics is getting cozy in the workplace. [Read more…]

Health & Wellness News Roundup – Sitting Disease, Wearable Tech, Massages for Mental Health, and More

wellness newsHere’s your weekly roundup of the latest health and wellness news! This week, our team shares these stories:

  • A simple way to reduce the effect of a sedentary lifestyle. Sitting is bad. We hear that a lot. So what can be done to counter its effects? In study subjects, standing had no effect on death rate (sorry, standing desk users). Instead, those who stood up and took gentle two-minute walks once per hour lowered their risk of premature death by 33 percent.
  • Data, data, everywhere. Over 200 million wearable monitoring devices are churning out data about health and daily habits. For people who use these devices, the goal is to find “ways to optimize bodies and minds to live longer, healthier lives — and perhaps to discover some important truth about themselves and their purpose in life.” But this data raises some serious questions about the ramifications of ordinary people “quantifying” their lives using these gadgets. What about privacy? Who owns the data? How should it be used? [Read more…]

Health & Wellness News Roundup – Federal Guidelines, Stress Killers, Broga, and More

wellness newsHere’s your weekly roundup of the latest health and wellness news! This week, our team shares these stories:

  • New federal guidelines–what do you need to know? You should consider five things going forward with your workplace wellness program. Here are the big three: don’t force employees to participate, keep medical information confidential, and limit incentives.
  • They say not to look at your neighbor’s paper in school, but if you lead a wellness program, it can be extremely helpful to see what others are doing. A recent survey by the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans revealed trends in workplace wellness such as the most popular fitness and nutrition initiatives (the top choices were wellness competitions, health coaching, and healthy food choices) and biggest barriers to program success (workers’ lack of time is a major one).
  • A plant, a nap, and your dog. What do these things have in common? They are guaranteed to reduce anxiety, kill stress, and boost mood during the workday. Put a plant on your desk. Make like Da Vinci and nap more. Or, just bring your pup along if your workplace allows it–he’ll probably be happier, too. [Read more…]

Health & Wellness News Roundup–May 1

wellness newsHere’s your weekly roundup of the latest health and wellness news! This week, our team shares these stories:

  • Where do we go from here? Workplace wellness continues to gain momentum, but employers need to sharpen their strategic focus. This survey gives some insight and advice on how to shape and shift your program into one that gets results.
  • Quantifying world happiness. In the new World Happiness Report, Switzerland and the Nordic countries still top the list, meanwhile the U.S. isn’t in the top ten. The report attributes some of our unhappiness to having trust issues. But why should we believe them?
  • The new surgeon general believes boosting health has nothing to do with medicine, but more to do with prevention. His mantra is this: eat healthy, stay physically active, focus on emotional and mental well-being, and stay away from drugs.
  • Too stressed? Take a walk. After taking lunchtime walks, study subjects were more relaxed, enthusiastic, and less nervous in the afternoon. This is good news because it’s something that everyone can do if they set aside the time. [Read more…]

Health & Wellness News Roundup – April 23

wellness news
A healthy twist on an old favorite? See below.

Here’s your weekly roundup of the latest health and wellness news! This week, our team shares stories about:

  • The perfect amount of exercise. (It’s not as impossible as you might think.) Any amount of exercise is going to do wonders for your health, but it turns out the often-cited 150 minutes of activity per week is actually the minimum recommended amount. Recent research found that the exercise sweet spot is triple that amount–or a little more than an hour of moderate exercise per day. Pepper your week with more brisk, long walks and you will prolong your life.
  • Improving your workplace wellness program evaluation skills. Flip to page 21 of the spring edition of Forward HR magazine for five tips on how to become a better evaluator. The article was written by HWM’s very own program manager, Theresa Islo.
  • An apple a day can’t keep the doctor away, but a painting of one might. Garden, puzzle, paint, sculpt, garden, craft, join a book club. If you have an artistic or social hobby when you’re middle aged, you’ll lower your risk of getting dementia later in life by a whopping 50 percent.
  • Starting with the lunch line. How do you get a wellness initiative going? Learn from this South Carolina company, which started with small, inexpensive changes such as removing fried food from the cafeteria menu and putting a salad bar full of colorful vegetables front and center.

[Read more…]

Health & Wellness News Roundup – April 16

wellness newsAs a health promoter and educator, it’s important to keep up with the latest health and wellness news. That’s why each week, we scour the Web to bring you the best stories on health research, corporate wellness, fitness, nutrition, wearable tech, and more. Share these articles with colleagues and employees, or simply stay on the cutting edge yourself!

This week, we share five stories:

  • What Seventh-day Adventists and citizens of Okinawa, Japan have in common. Both live in Blue Zones, regions with the world’s highest concentrations of centenarians. Researchers credit their long lives to plant-based diets, strong social ties, and other healthy behaviors.
  • “Meaningful” being the operative word. Two things are key to selling the value of employee wellness programs: 1) More meaningful initiatives than just giving out gym membership reimbursements, and 2) understanding ROI.
  • Unfortunate news for young women’s hearts. In women between ages 29 and 45, the incidence of heart disease is rising. A bunch of reasons account for it, but most of all stress. Women underestimate the dangers of heart disease, worrying about cancer when actually heart attacks and strokes are their number one killer.
  • [Read more…]

One Student’s Journey from Nutrition Enthusiast to Future Health and Wellness Program Manager

Cynthia Okeleye photographed for UW-River Falls Health and Wellness Management program 05282014 Photo by Kathy M Helgeson
Cynthia Okeleye will graduate with a bachelor’s degree in Health and Wellness Management in May.
Photo by Kathy M. Helgeson.

When you see a burger or a slice of pie, which of these is your first thought:

  1. Looks delicious; must eat now
  2. I probably shouldn’t *
  3. What’s in this food?

*But you eat anyway

If you chose number three, then you have something in common with Cynthia Okeleye. She enrolled in the UW Health and Wellness Management program a year and a half ago, but she has been fascinated with nutrition for much of her life.

“I think it’s important to know the whole process food goes through before it ends up on our plates,” she says. This interest is one of the driving forces that set her on the path to become a health and wellness manager. [Read more…]