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WHO recommended activity levels not quite high enough for disease prevention

Posted by Christine L. Tricoli

When it comes to advice on healthy living and general well-being, the World Health Organization (WHO) is the gold standard. It conducts research and sets recommended activity levels, nutritional intake and other guidelines to help set people on the path to a healthy lifestyle. As an employer, you may rely on the WHO for tips to share with your employees on staying fit and avoiding preventable illnessesthat can rack up costly healthcare claims. But new research shows it might be worthwhile to suggest your employees go beyond the WHO's typical recommendations for exercise. 

The WHO currently recommends adults achieve at least 600 metabolic equivalent minutes each week in order to stay healthy. Metabolic equivalent minutes, or MET minutes, are a way of measuring both the duration and intensity of physical activity. A new study published in the British Medical Journal, however, claims that people who achieve 3,000-4,000 MET minutes a week are at a much lower risk of developing a number of chronic conditions, including diabetes, heart disease and certain types of cancer. That means that in order to achieve the biggest risk reductions, people should participate in five to seven times the minimum level suggested by the WHO. 

While that is a significant increase, it is not unattainable. The study's authors noted that anyone could achieve high enough levels of exercise by incorporating activities like walking, vacuuming, gardening and taking the stairs into their routines every day. 

Nearly one-third of the nation's healthcare costs every year are spent treating the type of "behaviorally influenced chronic conditions" higher levels of exercise could help prevent, according to a McKinsey & Company report cited by Healthcare Dive. As an employer, this makes encouraging activity especially important to controlling your company's healthcare costs. 

Let us s​how you how you can save 15-30% on your company's total medical  costs. 

Posted by Christine L. Tricoli

Christine Tricoli is manager of Business Development for Kelsey-Seybold Clinic. She joined Kelsey-Seybold in 2004. She is responsible for developing new business relationships with key business leaders, plan sponsors and the brokerage community. Prior to joining Kelsey-Seybold, Christine was a senior sales account executive for a major health insurance company in the Houston market. She brings more than 30 years of experience in managed healthcare in Houston. Christine holds a Bachelor’s in Business Administration and a Group 1 Insurance License. She is fluent in Spanish.

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Topics: Activity, Disease prevention

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