American Heart Health MonthEach February, we celebrate American Heart Health month in February. The American Heart Association states that 80% of heart disease can be prevented, with changes to health and diet. Many companies today have adopted heart health programs into their organizations. By instituting employee wellness programs that focus on overall wellness, diet guidelines and exercise programs, a workplace can help in the battle against heart disease.Did you know?Heart disease and stroke are responsible for one in every three deaths in the USHeart attacks are the #1 cause of deathSomeone dies from heart disease every three seconds(source: https://www.almh.org/portals/4/Images/174-0347-Heart-Infographic_web.jpg?ver=2016-08-09-155028-340) Prevention comes from education. Employers can help institute change by implementing heart health incentive and awareness programs. Prevention can become part of your company culture. What can your organization do to help in the fight against heart disease and develop a healthier company? Become a Smoke-Free WorkplaceSmoking is a leading cause of heart disease. It damages arteries which can then lead to heart attack or stroke. Quitting smoking is one of the hardest health habits to break, so be sure that your workplace policy also comes with a smoking cessation program. Offer Healthy Food OptionsVending machines normally offer a quick fix and convenience, but nothing more than that. According to Million Hearts, 90% of Americans consume too much sodium, which increases their risk for high blood pressure – a major contributor to heart disease and stroke (source: Forbes). Avoid the salty snacks, deep fried goodies and focus on more fruits, vegetables and proteins. Ditch the wedding machines and opt instead to put out bowls of fruit, protein bars and nuts. Develop Team Workouts Exercise is a key element in the prevention of heart disease. Just like the rest of our muscles need to be built up, the heart is also a muscle and one of the most important ones! There are easy ways to combat sedentary work by planning meetings that involve physical activity or organizing walking meetings and lunch breaks. Movement increases blood flow to the heart, decreasing the chances of dangerous heart related events. Offer Onsite Health ProgramsEven though annual check ups with physicians are now 100% covered by insurance, many people still do not take advantage of this benefit or avoid it due to time restrictions and fear/avoidance. Many health issues can be caught early on through these yearly screenings. The sooner these are caught, the easier they are to treat and combat. Health professionals can be brought into your workplace to do screenings like blood pressure, basic blood work and weight. You can also offer an incentive or gift to increase participation and interest.