How Movement Can Benefit Your Workday – And How to Fit It In

March 26, 2018
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Have you ever thought about how long you sit throughout the work day? If you are like most Americans with sedentary jobs, that doesn’t expose you to enough movement throughout the day. Ever since the increase in the body weight of our nation, health professionals have been promoting more nutritious eating habits and physical activity as the keys to a healthy body weight and reduced risk of disease. Although eating healthfully and exercising is the right way to live, it’s not that simple for everyone to fit it in, every day. 

A recent study conducted by Dr. William Tigbe from the Warwick Medical School and the University of Warwick found evidence that office or sedentary jobs are detrimental to cardiovascular health.  This research showed that waist circumference increased by 2 centimeters, with the risk of heart diseases increasing by 0.2% for each additional hour spent a day sitting after 5 hours.  Lack of movement can slowly creep up on us, and put us at increased risk for negative health outcomes.

We all know that exercise and movement are important for helping to reduce our risk of heart disease. Studies show that spending 7 hours a day on your feet or walking 7 miles a day is ideal for safeguarding against cardiovascular issues and maintaining a healthy weight.  But in reality, few of us have time for that.

Prolonged sitting can negatively affect the body’s metabolic function, causing an array of problems besides chronic diseases.  Inactivity can result in brain fog, muscle degeneration, leg disorders (poor blood circulation), soft bones, and of course weight gain. Marc Hamilton, a professor of inactivity physiology at Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, LA noted that even the smallest contractile movements throughout the day are important for good health.

How can physical activity benefit your work-day, and how can you fit it in?  Well, to start you will feel better when you move.  Exercise releases the “feel good” hormones; Endorphins, Serotonin, and more. Endorphins interact with the receptors in your brain that reduce your perception of pain.  Endorphins also trigger a positive feeling in the body, like that of morphine. For example, the feeling that follows a run or workout is often described as “euphoric.” That feeling, known as a “runner’s high,” can be accompanied by a positive and energizing outlook on life.  Serotonin is our primary “happy hormone” and contributes to our feelings of happiness, wellness, and contentment.  Serotonin is used to transmit messages between nerve cells, it is thought to be active in constricting smooth muscle. As the precursor for melatonin, it helps regulate the body’s sleep-wake cycles and the internal clock.

Exercise improves your cognition!  This applies to those of us experiencing brain fog: exercise changes the brain in ways that protect memory and thinking skills.  In a study done at the University of British

Columbia, researchers found that regular aerobic exercise, the kind that gets your heart and your sweat glands pumping, appears to boost the size of the hippocampus, the brain area involved in verbal memory and learning. Exercise helps memory and thinking through both direct and indirect means. The benefits of exercise come directly from its ability to reduce insulin resistance, reduce inflammation, and stimulate the release of growth factors—chemicals in the brain that affect the health of brain cells, the growth of new blood vessels in the brain, and even the abundance and survival of new brain cells.  Indirectly, exercise improves mood and sleep, and reduces stress and anxiety. Problems in these areas frequently cause or contribute to cognitive impairment. 

So, how do you manage to squeeze in physical activity throughout the workday? Here are our top tips to help everyone fit activity into a busy lifestyle:

  1. Stand/Walk/Bike to work: This may not work for everyone, but if you commute via public transportation, avoid finding a seat. If you work close enough to walk or bike, try to incorporate that into your commute a couple of days a week to start.  Even if you can’t walk/bike to work, what about on the way home?  Bring a pair of work-out clothes/shoes to keep in your office.  
  2. Fitness Breaks: Instead of taking a coffee break or during lunch, incorporate a few laps on your way to or from the break-room, take the stairs whenever possible, enjoy the nice weather with a brisk walk after finishing your lunch.
  3. Stand while at work: Whenever you see an opportunity to get out of that computer chair, take it! Stand while talking on the phone, walk to your coworker’s desk rather than emailing or calling, invest in a standing desk, or a tool to raise your computer at your desk, if possible.
  4. Schedule “walking meetings”:  Rather than meeting in the board-room – meet at the door and take a walking meeting!  The movement will help get your blood flowing, and you may come up with ideas more quickly/solve problems more easily.  
  5. Keep workout gear at your desk: A couple resistant bands or small weights can be simple ways to include strength training while on a conference call or between meetings.  Check out our favorite desk exercises.  
  6. Plan for business trips: Investigate the hotel you will be staying in and if it includes a fitness room or pool. Instead of sitting and waiting for your delayed flight to show up, go for a walk around the terminal.  Always pack sneakers!  
  7. Involve your coworkers: It is much easier to stick to a regimen if you have others involved in the activity as well. Talk to your colleagues and form a fitness group. You could plan 10-15 min walks around the building with them, and walking meetings.  If you have a competitive office environment, what about a walking or activity challenge?  Contact us at info@bkomplete.com to learn about our custom wellness challenges.  

Even small changes (200 more steps per day) can ladder up to long term health benefits. Need a little more inspiration?  Check out Dave’s Story.  By adding movement into your day, you will have more energy, possible weight loss from burning more calories, and improvement in your body’s metabolic functions. So, what are you waiting for? Go talk to your coworker from across the building, and schedule your first walking meeting!

B.Educated, B.Inspired, B.Komplete

 

References:

https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2017/standing-or-walking-versus-sitting-on-the-job-in-2016.htm

https://adaa.org/understanding-anxiety/related-illnesses/other-related-conditions/stress/physical-activity-reduces-st#

https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/office-exercise/art-20047394

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What Foods to Eat in the Winter

February 4, 2018
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Winter means colder temperatures and less hours of daylight. With more time spent inside and little exposure to sunlight, it can become a challenge to stay happy and energized. Because of this, it is crucial to stay focused on the nutrition choices that work for you during this time of the year. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a type of depression with seasonal patterns, is very common during the cold months of winter. Changes in mood, energy, focus, appetite, and sleep are normal and expected with this kind of disorder. There are many different ways that you can stay on top of your health and prevent symptoms of SAD. Staying active, eating healthy winter foods, and managing your stress are great places to start. To stay happy, healthy, and energized incorporate these winter foods into your day:

Sweet Potatoes are a great source of Vitamin A, beta-carotene, potassium, fiber. They are also packed with antioxidants. With their sweet taste and bright orange color, adding them to your meal can be fun. Also, they work well in a lot of different recipes. Whether you choose to bake, roast, or mash them, sweet potatoes are a great food to eat to keep you full and energized! Check out more recipe ideas here.

 

Brussel Sprouts are “tiny cabbages” and have a wide variety of health benefits.  When prepared with herbs, spices and some healthy oil, they taste really yummy! Brussels are full of fiber, as well as contain high levels of cancer-fighting antioxidants that can protect your DNA from oxidative damage. Try tossing them in some olive or avocado oil and roasting until lightly browned. Add some herbs like oregano, cumin, or smoked paprika.  Toss with a pinch of salt and pepper, and enjoy! For other Brussel sprout recipe ideas, click here.

Salmon contains tryptophan which is an amino-acid that is a precursor for serotonin, a neurotransmitter that is associated with positive mood regulation. Salmon also contains large amounts of omega-3 fatty acids which have been shown in some studies to help regulate depression. The fat in salmon is heart healthy and helps to reduce harmful inflammation.  Salmon can be baked, broiled, or grilled. Add your favorite marinade or season with citrus like lemon, lime and orange, and enjoy!  Check out this link for more salmon recipe ideas.

Winter Squash is full of Vitamin A and carotenoids, which have been shown to promote healthy skin as well as benefit heart health and immunity. Also rich in fiber and potassium, winter squash is a great option for many! Try all different varieties: Acorn, butternut, kabocha, and delicate squash! To learn more about squash varities, check out Epicurious, and for some yummy winter squash recipes, click here.

 

Clementines are vitamin C and fiber-packed tiny fruits.  This sweet and tart delights are great snacks for just about anywhere, anytime. Full of calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, and potassium, clementines are easy to pack and delicious to eat, Whether you’re peeling one for your morning snack or throwing them into your salad for lunch, clementines are the perfect addition to your day!  For delicious recipe inspiration, check out Saveur

 

 

Staying happy and healthy can sometimes be a challenge. Life is crazy, and there are always things to be worrying about and stressing over. Take small steps daily to keep your mind at ease and your body strong and energized. Enjoy these winter foods for your mood and overall vitality.  Your health and well-being are important to all of us here at B.Komplete!  Contact us at info@bkomplete.com to book one of our Registered Dietitian Nutritionists to help you come up with the health and wellness strategies that work, for you.  

B.Educated, B.Inspired, B.Komplete


References:

https://greatist.com/health/seasonal-winter-produce-guide

http://www.eatright.org/resource/food/planning-and-prep/cooking-tips-and-trends/the-best-winter-foods-for-kids

 

 

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How to Avoid a Food Coma after Lunch

November 20, 2017
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So you’ve had a busy morning and it’s time for lunch. For many people, work lunches involve buying food from the company cafeteria, or heading out to one of the many eateries that cater to the workweek lunch crowd. Taking your full lunch break is a great way to decompress and prepare for the work in the afternoon (see our blog on how to do the business lunch healthfully), but there is one outcome every productive worker wants to avoid: the food coma.

The “Food Coma” which is so ubiquitous it was added to the Oxford Dictionaries Online in 2014, is that feeling of sleepiness that overtakes people after a big meal. You may know it by a different name like “the itis,” or “after dinner dip,” but you probably haven’t heard of the technical term: “postprandial somnolence.”  We most commonly think of it happening after big holiday meals (like Thanksgiving) but a food coma after lunch can ruin afternoon productivity. So how can we all prevent the food coma…

Don’t go too big: A study in young men tested whether a low or high calorie lunch would have a greater impact on sleepiness during a monotonous drive (don’t worry, the drive was in a simulator). Researchers found that the larger meal caused a much greater lull in attentiveness and trend toward greater sleepiness compared to the smaller meal.

Tip: Pack your lunch the night before, or make sure to exercise your ordering skills at a restaurant to ensure your meal is less calorie dense. Use the Healthy Dining Finder to locate a restaurant with healthy options near you, or check out some of B. Komplete’s healthy ordering tips for business lunches.

Keep those carbohydrates complex: One theory for feeling sleepy after meals has to do with the amount and types of carbohydrates we eat. There is evidence that eating easily digestible simple carbohydrates (like white flour and sugary desserts) causes sleepiness by increasing blood sugar and subsequent insulin production. That increase in insulin production happens concurrently with increases in hormones like melatonin which causes sleepiness, and inhibition of orexin neurons which help maintain wakefulness. Multiple studies show greater sleepiness and earlier onset of sleep with meals higher refined and total carbohydrate.   Tip: Try to keep your post-meal surge in blood sugar slow and controlled by choosing healthy, complex forms of carbohydrates like whole grains. Also be sure to include plenty of fruits and vegetables that add healthy fiber and slow the digestion of carbohydrate in the gut.

Avoid high fat meals: A study done in over 700 Australian men found that those who ate diets higher in fat reported experiencing greater daytime sleepiness than those with lower fat intake.  Tip: Keep your lunch light on the grease! Heavier, fatty foods like pizza and burgers might just exacerbate your post-meal lull. Also consider the type of fat you eat. Typical fast food often contains lots of saturated fat, the fat we typically consider less healthy. Instead, choose foods full of healthy unsaturated fats like guacamole, or a salad with a vinegar and olive oil, nuts and seeds.  

 

Get a good night’s sleep: The experience of a “afternoon dip” doesn’t have everything to do with your meal. At least some of this post-lunch sleepiness is due to natural fluctuations of your circadian rhythm which can be exacerbated by the content of your meals. However, another major factor for your desire for an afternoon nap? Sleep debt. According to the CDC, 1 in 3 Americans is sleep-deprived and you’re much less likely to feel energized after lunch if you didn’t get enough sleep the previous night. Poor sleep is also associated with poor food choices, which can exacerbate the food coma, creating a vicious cycle…  Tip: Set an alarm not just for the morning, but for bedtime and hold yourself to it! Ensuring you get enough sleep will not only help you stake wakeful throughout the workday, but will also help you make healthy food choices at lunch!

It might feel great to take a nap after a satisfying meal, but this isn’t an option when you’re busy at work. Prioritizing healthy, light lunches and adequate sleep at nighttime can help you maintain your productivity and prevent the dreaded food coma.

However, if you’re like many Americans, you have a hectic work day and prioritizing healthful behaviors can be difficult. Check out B.Komplete’s post on how to maintain a healthy lifestyle with a busy schedule!

B.Educated, B.Inspired, B.Komplete

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The Untapped Power of Mindfulness Meditation

November 4, 2017
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Let’s rewind to 2014 for a moment. B.Komplete was just getting started and I was just beginning to develop the wellness programs you see from us today.  While researching comprehensive wellness programs, one of the keys to well-being that I discovered was the power of mindfulness and meditation. Well-being is far more than physical health – mental and emotional health are also vital to overall wellness. With this in mind, myself and my team developed a variety of stress reduction tools to guide anyone to a healthier mindset. B.Komplete now offers life coaching, yoga, meditation, chair massage, acupuncture, stress reduction stations, stress reduction seminars, workshops, and stress reduction challenges.

Fast forward to 2017 when I had been away from the “front lines” for a bit too long, and knew that I had to get out there.  I decided it made sense for me to personally teach one of our stress reduction workshops. At this point I was practicing yoga frequently and had learned a little bit about meditation and how to use it. However, I had never really focused on becoming mindful myself, and I had definitely never committed to doing so on a consistent basis. I am a firm believer that in order to be the most effective teacher you can be, you must have personal experience with the subject matter. I wanted to experience the power of mindfulness and meditation for myself, and be able to share my experience with others. Here’s a little bit more about my journey to unlock my power through mindfulness meditation…

How my mindfulness meditation journey began.

I started with a 30 day mindfulness meditation practice. I practiced between 5 and 8 minutes daily and it was perfect. I found that it was really helpful to practice first thing in the morning, before starting work.

The changes I experienced during the first 30 days…

First of all, I gained an awareness that I had not been very mindful at all before starting this practice. As I made my way through the first 30 days I grew a whole new view of the world around me. I appreciated the nature, the scenery, and the leaves on the trees so much more. My world became much more vivid, more beautiful, and more inspirational, as I became more mindful.

My overall impression of my mindfulness and meditation practice…

It blew my mind! It totally changed my life by expanding my horizons and changing the way I perceived the world. I started noticing I was able to handle my stress in a much healthier way and had this new, positive outlook on life. I was more capable of handling stressful situations. As soon as I started my practice, I developed resiliency. When life tried to knock me down, I came back stronger and more focused. I started to notice my reactions changing. When difficult situations presented themselves I resorted to my practice.

The specific factors that helped me gain the full potential of my practice…

Developing a personal mantra was incredibly beneficial to me. In times when stress was mounting inside me, I came back to my breath and my mantra. The mantra drew me back to the present moment and brought me clarity and focus. I could feel the anger, frustration, stress, and other negative emotions dissipate as I focused myself on the present moment using my mantra. The way I see a mantra, is as a tool to change your mindset. I developed my mantra to help motivate me professionally by using words I connected deeply with to create a phrase I knew would help me get my mind back on the right track.

Life before mindfulness meditation…

I have been a high stress person throughout my entire life. Stress has always been a major factor in my life, and probably always will be. Soon after starting graduate school I noticed I was losing large clumps of hair. I was obviously alarmed, and saw my doctor. The doctor told me, “you need to chill out a little bit, don’t let the school kill you.” Like I said, stress was a major factor for me. I noticed other physical changes in my body during periods of great stress. My body weight would fluctuate, my jaw would be sore from grinding my teeth, I had dark circles under my eyes. I could tell my body was not happy with the way I was handling stress.

As a business professional, mindfulness helps me work.

Mindfulness has greatly benefited me from a professional standpoint. When business gets overwhelming, I take a step back and focus on what is going on right now. Mindfulness makes the tough stuff easier to handle. One thing I have struggled with in the past is focusing too much on the future. I would start to think about everything I had on my to do list and it became cumbersome. Mindfulness has helped me take a step back. I take things day by day now. I focus on what needs to be accomplished each day, and I do it. This has made my life so much more manageable. I find much more happiness and excitement in my day to day work now that I concentrate on one day instead of worrying about the next 3 months!

Recommended tools to get started with mindfulness and meditation.

The Center for Wellness at Harvard University has great resources from guided meditations to mindfulness tools. When I was first starting my practice I used online, guided meditations.

B.Komplete offers a wide variety of stress reduction programs. If you are interested in personally benefitting from a mindfulness and meditation practice, and would like to share this gift with your office group, contact us at info@bkomplete.com for additional information and to schedule our stress reduction events. 

B.Educated, B.Inspired, B.Komplete

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What Foods to Eat in the Summer

June 30, 2017
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Warm days means fresh summer foods. Wondering what foods can help you stay in shape all summer long?  Eating well and keeping yourself hydrated is important to keep yourself ready and energized for summer activities.  B.Komplete Registered Dietitian Nutritionists can help you learn more about these foods for when you’re having fun in the sun!

 

 

Watermelon: The perfect fruit to keep you hydrated without a whole lot of calories. Click here for a watermelon feta mint salad! 

 

 

 

 

Berries: Blueberries. Raspberries. Blackberries. Jam packed with fiber and antioxidants. Toss them in your plain yogurt or oatmeal for some added natural sweetness. Want to try berries in a delicious savory dish? Try this recipe for grilled salmon and blueberry sauce!

 

 

 

Tomatoes: Rich in an antioxidant called, lycopene and perfect tossed in a salad or to simply enjoy alone (especially grape tomatoes).

 

 

 

Avocados: Yes, you should eat fat! Especially the heart-healthy fats in avocados to keep you satisfied as well as add some creaminess to your dishes.  Try swapping out butter or cream cheese for ¼ of a mashed avocado on your toast/bagel. How about making a delicious creamy avocado sauce for your pasta or “zoodles”? 

 

 

 

 

Corn: Get the local grown corn and throw it on the grill for some sweet BBQ crunch! You gain 4 grams of fiber in just ½ cup of kernels.  Click here to learn more about your local farms.  Learn more about eating organic and fresh foods here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Zucchini: This vitamin C-rich veggie is perfect for grilling or making “zoodles”. The Food Network has wonderful recipe ideas.  Love Pad Thai?  Try this lighter version that uses “zoodles.”  Click here to purchase for a budget-friendly spiralizer to make your “zoodles”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nuts: A good source of healthy fats, protein, fiber and a variety of vitamins and minerals. Try a small handful of dry-roasted unsalted almonds, cashews, walnuts or pistachio as an on-the go or pre-workout snack.

 

 

Want to try multiple summer-friendly foods all in one dish? Try this grilled corn, watermelon and avocado salad!  Try substituting apple or celery for jicama if you are having trouble finding it.

 

 

 Interested to learn more about seasonal foods and how to enjoy summer food? Below are links to help guide you:

https//snaped.fns.usda.gov/seasonal-produce-guide

http://www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org/whats-in-season-summer

 

B.Educated, B.Inspired, B.Komplete

 

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Creamy, Dreamy Recipes Perfect for Your Summer Body

May 23, 2017
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Creamy, Dreamy Recipes Perfect for Your Summer Body

We all know the cycle – as the weather heats up, our motivation increases to get or maintain a toned physique.  Often times this means giving up some of the foods we really enjoy to eat.  However, these desires don’t need to be mutually exclusive – you can get or maintain a toned physique AND eat food that you enjoy!  Try one of our favorite creamy, dreamy recipes that are both delicious and nutritious.  

B.Komplete Ranch Dip

Makes 8 – 2 Tablespoon Servings

Ingredients

  • 2 Cups siggis Plain Yogurt (Fat-Free)
  • 2/3 Cup Light Mayonnaise
  • 1 Teaspoon Dried Dill Weed
  • ½ Teaspoon Dried Parsley
  • ½ Teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • ¼ Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
  • ¼ Teaspoon Garlic Powder

Instructions

Combine all ingredients in a bowl until well blended.  Consume immediately or refrigerate (will keep covered, in refrigeration up to 3 days).  Perfect for a vegetable dip, and used on sandwiches, fish, meat, baked potatoes and whole grain pasta.  Thin it out with a splash of water and you have made your own salad dressing!

 B.Komplete Cheesecake Pudding

Makes 6 – ½ Cup Servings

Ingredients

  • 1 (8 oz.) Packages of Low-Fat Cream Cheese   
  • 1 (8 oz.) package of Fat-Fat Cream Cheese
  • 1 cup siggis Plain Yogurt (Fat-Free)
  • ¼ Cup Honey
  • 2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
  • 1 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract

Instructions

Allow the cream cheese to soften in room temperature (about 30 – 60 minutes).  When the cream cheese has softened, combine in a medium bowl with all other ingredients.  Mix well.  Consume immediately for a creamy treat, or refrigerate for 2 – 3 hours for a more firm texture.  Enjoy with fresh fruit, or add a pinch of lemon zest. 

If you haven’t tried siggis yet – get up and immediately go buy it!  The Icelandic “Skyr” is a thick and creamy yogurt that is high in protein and has a great flavor.  siggis is B.Komplete Approved because the flavored varieties are still lower in added sugar.  Its the perfect breakfast or snack to take with you during the summer!  The B.Komplete Dietitian Team uses siggis in a variety of our Corporate Wellness Cooking Demonstrations.  We love siggis, and we know that you will too. 

B.Educated, B.Inspired, B.Komplete

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How to Inspire Healthy Habits in Your Workplace

April 19, 2017
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There are countless reasons to invest time and resources into creating a healthy work environment and workforce. Healthy employees contribute to their companies through increased productivity, reduced absenteeism, and are less likely to quit. Reducing turnover and increasing productivity are excellent incentives for employers, and healthy minds and bodies – as well as incentives on insurance premiums or gym memberships – are great incentives for employees.  Wellness designed properly, works.

If your company doesn’t currently have initiatives for improving employee health and wellness, here are some simple ways to get started:

  • Provide Healthy Food at the Office.  Improve food choices in simple ways, by providing access to fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables in the cafeteria or keeping a bowl of healthy snacks in the break room. Instead of a platter of donuts for employee morale on a Friday, consider bringing in some Greek yogurt with whole grain granola and fresh fruit slices for healthy parfaits.  By setting a healthy example of food served within the work environment, this will encourage employees to pick up their own healthy food habits at work and at home and promotes wellness success
  • Emphasize Movement Throughout the Work Day. Some offices host “walking clubs” as part of their lunch hour routine and to get employees up and moving during the day. This is one great way to incorporate more exercise, and there are plenty of other options. Consider hosting a workshop to teach employees different ways to get small exercises into their work day – like doing 5 “desk push ups” each time they get up to go to the break room or bathroom.  One effective way to show employees that you care about their fitness and their stress levels is to host an Office Yoga, Functional Training or Pilates Class. A B.Komplete Instructor will come to your work-site and lead your group in a customized workout!
  • Healthy Competitions. Health and weight loss or maintenance challenges that take place over discrete time periods (for example, 4 to 10 weeks) can motivate employees to take on new healthy habits in the spirit of a friendly competition. Challenges can be as simple as encouraging teams of employees to track their daily food intake each day, to more holistic challenges involving weight loss, minutes of exercise, mindfulness, and more.
  • Invest in a Comprehensive Corporate Wellness Program. In 2008, Johnson & Johnson published that implementing a corporate wellness program had saved them $250 million dollars in employee healthcare, a return on investment of $2.71 for every dollar spent. But implementing a healthy environment and getting these types of outcomes can be difficult without bringing an expert on board.

Expert corporate wellness vendors create wellness challenges, provide work-site nutrition and food, stress management, and exercise activities and track important health care benchmarks to let you know how your company stacks up when it comes to health and wellness. Unclear how to choose the right corporate wellness program for you? Click here and learn the best ways to identify how your company can incorporate corporate wellness.  B.Komplete is a best-in-class full-service corporate wellness vendor that will provide the most effective solutions for your organization.  Contact us now to learn more.

Savvy managers and business owners realize that happy, healthy employees create a more innovative work space and a more productive work environment. By considering the tips above, you will make your company more successful and a better place to work.

B.Educated, B.Inspired, B.Komplete

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Put Your Best Fork Forward – International Cuisine

March 13, 2017
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With the 2017 National Nutrition Month in full swing, there is no better time than now to learn how to enjoy International Cuisine.  Below are a list of cuisines where “putting your best fork forward” does not require a fork! 


Japanese:  A cuisine rich in fish, vegetables and rice, with many delicious and nutritious options.  Chopsticks are used to eat most Japanese Cuisine.  While traditional Japanese cuisine is prepared steamed, boiled or raw – be mindful of added sodium and fried preparation methods. 

Healthy Japanese Choices:

Steamed Edamame: Perfect as an appetizer – these crisp green beans have a slightly nutty flavor and provide protein and fiber.

Seaweed Salad: Try a different type of green salad that is packed with flavor and includes a good source of many vitamins including B12.

Hiyayakko: Cool tofu topped with daikon, grated ginger or mustard delivers a delectable flavor and gives you the benefit of protein and healthy fat.

Sashimi: Naturally high in protein and satisfying. Select from ikura (salmon), ahi (tuna), ika (squid), kani (crab), ebi (shrimp) and unagi (eel). 

Teriyaki: Chicken, salmon, shrimp or tofu with vegetables make a well-balanced meal.  Select your choice with brown rice.  Ask for your dish to be steamed, and for the sauce to come on the side.  This way you can control how much of the teriyaki sauce you use, and save yourself unnecessary calories, fat, sugar and sodium.   

Toppings: Apply wasabi and ginger liberally – both rich in spice and antioxidants.


Thai:  Traditional Thai dishes require a fork, and a spoon.  The spoon is used to move the food you are eating to your mouth, and the fork is used to help push food into the spoon. 

Healthy Thai Choices: 

Tom Yum Soup: Spicy and sour with ample herbs and spices, this soup will satisfy an adventurous palate. Please note, the soup may be high in sodium. 

Summer Rolls: Also known as “fresh spring rolls” this healthy appetizer is typically made with shrimp and vegetables and wrapped in rice paper.  Use the peanut dipping sauce sparingly. 

Satay: Grilled meat or tofu laced onto bamboo skewers – packed with protein and sure to satisfy.  When preparing at home, flavor with lime, turmeric, garlic and red chili.  If enjoying out, use the peanut dipping sauce sparingly. 

Broth Based Curry: The two most common curries, red and green curry, have fresh herbal flavor and pair well with seafood. Jungle curry (gkaeng bpah) and sour curry (gkaeng som) are popular broth-based soups, without the addition of heavy cream. These curries can be spooned over rice for a fulfilling meal. 

Pik Pow (Nam Prik Pao): Also known as “thai vegetarian chili paste” is a flavor-packed paste that is smoky, sweet, tart, and spicy. It can be used in stir-fry’s, as a rub, and used to dip vegetables. And the best part – the paste is extremely flavorful and a little goes a long way.

Pad Thai (without egg, and peanut topping on the side): A fresh, light-bodied dish and truly delicious with the variety of flavors and textures. Substitute egg for firm tofu and use soybean spread to replace the peanuts or peanut butter commonly used in traditional pad thai. This results in a healthy dish packed with plenty of protein and healthy fats.  Check out an egg-free recipe here.


Ethiopian:  Injera is a flatbread made from teff, a grass (not a grain, like wheat) that’s fermented with water for several days and then baked into large, airy pancakes that have the texture of crepes and the flavor of sourdough bread. Teff flour is incredibly nutritious – high in fiber, iron, calcium, and complete amino acid profile and gluten-free.  To eat Ethiopian food, tear off a piece of injera, scoop your food in it, roll it up, pop the whole thing into your mouth – and repeat until satisfied. 

Healthy Ethiopian Choices:

Split Pea Stew: Also known as “kik alicha” is a comforting stew made with savory ingredients such as ginger, garlic, red onions, split peas, and green chili. Choose to eat in a bowl or dip with injera. 

Lentils: Lentils are a great source of fiber, protein and iron. Season with berbere spice or simmer with herbs and vegetables as a healthful side dish.

Yetsom Beyaynetu: A vegetarian combination platter consisting of injera (flatbread) served with several vegan curries and vegetables–a light and healthy appetizer choice that gives you the ability to try a variety of curry.

Shiro Wat: A spicy chickpea-based dish seasoned with onions, garlic, and other spices. Use this as a dip for vegetables or injera. Chickpeas are a great source of fiber and protein.

Misir Wat: This red lentil curry made with garlic, olive oil, ginger, and onion–this is a great option if you are looking for a spicy, warm stew. 

Shiro Alecha: A mild stew of seasoned ground lentils, chickpeas and/or peas. This is a terrific option to be served with injera if you are looking for a dish with a milder flavor profile.

Gomen: Ethiopian style collard greens – perfect for your little leafy green lover. Pairs perfectly with fresh lemon juice! When preparing at home add paprika, ginger root, turmeric and all spice for flavor and a boost of antioxidants. 

Chicken Doro Wat: A flavorful chicken dish served in a slightly spicy sauce containing ginger and berbere over injera. The key: slowly simmer the chicken for enhanced flavor.


Mexican:  Eating tacos with a fork and knife is unacceptable in the Mexican culture. Therefore, be polite: use your hands to enjoy tacos.  Mexican cuisine is filled with flavors and ingredients such as cilantro, garlic, avocado, beans, onion, chili’s, and more. Maize, also known as corn, is a staple grain that is commonly used in this cuisine. Maize is the main ingredient in tortillas: used for burritos, quesadillas, and tacos.

Healthy Mexican Choices:

Salsa de Pina Picante: A sweet and fresh salsa option made with pineapple, cilantro, and lime juice. Enjoy with multi grain tortillas for a light, tropical appetizer.  Want to make at home – try this recipe.

Guacamole: Made from mashed avocados, guacamole is packed with healthy fats. Add tomatoes, lemon juice, jalapenos, and cilantro–these ingredients can give a kick of flavor to your traditional guacamole

Turkey Tacos: Great if you’re looking for a quick, easy taco dinner. Use lean ground turkey instead of ground beef, and wheat tortillas over traditional white tortilla. Add avocado, tomato, lettuce, and as much cilantro and chili as you like – for full flavor. 

Sopa de Habas: This fava bean soup is filled with a flavorful aromatic base of tomatoes, garlic, and onions. Not to mention, fava beans are very nutrient-dense, containing folate and iron.

Chicken Carnitas Tacos: Crispy, tender chicken with hints of lime, cumin, garlic, and– orange juice! These ingredients give your chicken carnitas a unique, pleasant taste and allows you to top it with your choice of veggies and herbs. The last step: stuff it all in a wheat tortilla.

We would love to hear what International Cuisine you try and enjoy – no fork required!  And in the meantime…

B.Educated, B.Inspired, B.Komplete


 

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Your Time is Now

January 2, 2017
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in Blog
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B.Komplete had the opportunity to speak with Dave, who is a professional in the food industry.  Dave is happily married with two children.  Like many of us, Dave started gaining weight in his 30’s, and found himself in a state he didn’t feel great about.  And, then Dave made a change – for healthy weight loss.  Read on to learn what worked for him – which may also work for you.  

 

When you first decided to make changes in your life, what was the first thing you did?

  • I realized I was not in the shape that I wanted to be in. It was obvious I wasn’t active enough and I knew I probably wasn’t eating the best. I wanted to start by focusing on my eating habits. To do this, I just started to keep track of what I was eating each day.  I knew my time was now, and I needed to make a change.

How did you begin the physical process of changing your life?

  • At first, I thought about how I could keep track of what I was eating. I knew I could keep notes or create an excel spreadsheet. Then I thought to myself, there has to be an easier way to do this, especially with all of the new technology now a days. So, I started to look into different apps. I searched “weight loss” and found My Fitness Pal and Lose It. I chose to use Lose It because I could budget the amount of calories I was allotted each day in order to hit my goal weight.  

What goals did you set for yourself?

  • I knew I wanted to lose weight. At the beginning, I was at my heaviest of 255 lbs and I wanted to get down to a healthier weight. I set a goal to get down to 215 lbs. Lose It actually helped me to hit my end goal by giving me mini goals each week. By that I mean, each week I was allotted a set number of calories in order to lose 2 lbs per week.

Were there any obstacles you faced during the process of change? How did you manage to stay healthy at work?

  • One Thursday or Friday evening, I wanted to enjoy a glass of wine with my wife after work but I didn’t have enough calories left to do so. That’s when it hit me. If I did enough physical activity, I could burn off enough calories to be able to enjoy my wine. This became important to me to work out so I could enjoy things and still maintain my calorie goals. Also, it helped me to feel better about myself.
  • With a long commute to work each day and a busy schedule, it’s hard to find time to fit in exercise. It helped for me to schedule it into my day and make it a priority. I started to go to the gym before work in the morning. I remember one of the first mornings my alarm went off and I said “if I don’t get up now, I’m never going to do this.” So, I got up and have been doing it ever since. On the days I have an early meeting and can’t go to the gym beforehand, I have to defend my time, meaning even if I can’t do my usual hour or so workout and only have time for 20 minutes of cardio, I do it.
  • Food wise, at work I started to make substitutes in my lunches. By tracking what I ate, I saw what wasn’t good for me and what I could replace it with. For instance, I now eat Baked Lays Chips instead of regular potato chips. Also, I’m a big fan of soups. I used to eat jambalaya and seafood bisque’s which are high in fat and sodium. Now, I found one that is much healthier and still tastes great.  

 What resources did/do you use to help keep you going?

  • Like I said, the app Lose It  works well for me to track what I eat. I can also use it to track my exercises. There was one saying that my previous manager used to say that has stuck with me, that was: “what gets measured, gets done.” I think of that when I track what I eat and when I exercise. It helps you see or “measure” what you are doing and it keeps me accountable to “get it done” or meet my daily calorie allowance and fit in daily exercise.
  • You have to find something that works for you. When I started to get into exercising, I was never a fan of running but it is now something that I enjoy and helps me. I started running shorter distances, maybe a mile or two. Now, I have ran numerous races from 5K, 10K, to a half marathon.

Have your changes impacted your kids or family at all? if so, how?

  • My children are 5 & 2 so they are in their cute years. They actually helped to inspire me to want to change. I saw a picture of myself and one of my children and it didn’t look like me next to this cute kid.
  • Now that I’ve made my changes and stick to a healthy lifestyle, it sets a good example for them. They’ve come to my races and cheer me on from the sides. My older child even does “races” in the backyard where he just runs around for a little. It’s good for them to see the importance of healthy eating and regular exercise. Hopefully, down the road they will understand that from watching me.

What advice would you give your kids in the future on the importance of health, physical activity, and eating healthy?

  • I would say you have to make it a priority. You need to stay consistent, even if you can’t fit in a full workout one day, do what you can. You are still doing something and staying active. Also, find something you enjoy and are comfortable with. If you enjoy it, it will be easier to make it a priority in your daily life. It helps to track everything. You see what you are doing right and what you can improve on.

What are you most proud of?

  • After I achieved my healthy weight loss, I went back to the doctors and my doctor noticed right away that I lost weight. Also, my bio-metrics had all improved. It was nice to see that not only on the outside I had improved, but also on the inside.

Dave’s Weight change: March 2014 – 255 pounds, November 2014 – 200 pounds.

Dave ran his first half in November 2014.

B.Educated, B.Inspired, B.Komplete

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How to Select the Best Corporate Wellness Program for Your Company

August 8, 2016
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in Blog
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When a company has healthy and happy employees, the company will reap the rewards. A correctly designed and implemented wellness program can improve employee health, productivity, morale and manage stress. Wellness programs guide employees to make thoughtful and healthful choices that ultimately reduce employer health care costs, employee presenteeism and absenteeism. The costs of implementing a wellness program are minimal compared to the benefits.

 

What is Corporate/Worksite Wellness?

 Wellness is no longer a consideration solely for the self-funded company, but instead the solution sought out by all businesses, self-funded and fully insured.  As defined by the Centers for Disease Control, “workplace health programs are a coordinated and comprehensive set of health promotion and protection strategies implemented at the worksite that include programs, policies, benefits, environmental supports, and links to the surrounding community, designed to encourage the health and safety of all employees (1).”  A diverse range of benefits are offered under the label “workplace wellness,” from multi-component programs to single interventions, and benefits can be offered by employers directly, through a vendor, group health plans, or a combination of both.

It is no secret that health care costs have ranked among the top concerns of employers for more than the last decade. There is good reason for this concern – health care costs have outpaced inflation for years, and employers often bear the brunt of these costs (2). 

Lifestyle Choices Cost Employers Money:

  • 8% of U.S. adult’s smoke (3). The total economic cost of smoking is more than $300 billion a year, including nearly $170 billion in direct medical care for adults and more than $156 billion in lost productivity due to premature death and exposure to secondhand smoke (4).  The CDC estimates that companies spend an average of $3,856 per smoker per year in direct medical costs and lost productivity (5). 
  • Presenteeism, the act of attending work while sick, costs employers more money than absenteeism.  The total cost of presenteeism for US employers continues to increase, and estimates for current losses range from $150 to $250 billion annually (6). 
  • Nearly 50% of all employees suffer from moderate to severe stress while on the job, according to a recent survey. And 66% of employees report that they have difficulty focusing on tasks at work due to stress. Stress is estimated to cost US businesses up to $300 billion a year (7).   
  • A study in the American Journal of Health Promotion found that, on average, a morbidly obese employee costs an employer over $4,000 more per year in health care/related costs than an employee who is of healthy weight. The study also revealed that obese individuals who had co-morbidities such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol incurred more costs than obese workers without these conditions (8).

Types of Corporate/Worksite Wellness programs

According to a RAND employer survey, “approximately half of U.S. employers offer wellness promotion initiatives, and larger employers are more likely to have more complex wellness programs. Programs often include wellness screening activities to identify health risks and interventions to reduce risks and promote healthy lifestyles. Most employers (72% of those offering a wellness program) characterize their wellness programs as a combination of screening activities and interventions. Wellness benefits can be offered by employers or a vendor to all employees or through their group health plans to plan members (9).”

  • Awareness-oriented wellness programs provide information and resources to help employees learn about healthful lifestyle choices. These programs provide education and awareness, not actual activity or behavior change guidance.  They tend to be most effective with already health-conscious individuals, and generally do not significantly reduce health care costs.
  • Activity-oriented wellness programs combine awareness with participation in healthy activities. Examples include walking programs, weight-loss challenges, and discounted/free gym memberships.  Generally offering some type of participation incentive.  These programs usually lead to health care savings, and could take three or more years to realize a positive return on investment. 
  • Results-oriented wellness programs focus on measurable outcomes and behavior changes achieved through program. These programs also include components of awareness and activity-based programs.  If paired with strong incentives, these programs have the ability to produce significant return on investment through a decrease in absenteeism and workers’ compensation incidents (10).

How to select the best program for your company

Step 1:  Conduct an Anonymous Employee Interest Survey.  This is an opportunity to learn which health and wellness topics your employees are interested in.  This is a great way to get employee feedback on pre-existing wellness initiatives and ideas for future programs.  Consider that employee health needs information may be already available through other sources, such as HRAs or medical claims data, and the employee survey may not need to address those type of questions (11).

Step 2: Outline Your Wellness Vision and Expectations.  What type of philosophy are you looking for in a wellness partner? What type of experiences in wellness are you looking for?  Often, employers succeed when their wellness vendor shares a similar mission and vision with them (12).  Prior to researching potential vendors, outline your own company’s objectives on health and wellness.  Ideally, you’ll want to enlist the help of a vendor that has experience helping similar businesses in your industry.  Reach out to your Health Insurance Carrier, Broker and/or relevant Business Associations to learn about the vendors they work with and why.

Step 3: Select a Vendor/s.  What do you need most from a wellness vendor? Are you looking for a partner with the most innovative programs or up-to-date technology? Or is it more important to team up with an experienced vendor who has an excellent reputation with current clients? Are there specific degrees and backgrounds that your company expects from the vendor’s staff (12)?

 Questions to consider:

  • Does the vendor offer in-person or virtual services or both?  This is highly important if your employees aren’t all in the same location. 
  • Does the vendor provide a full service wellness program or a la carte offerings or both?  Keep in mind that the customer service aspect will vary greatly from vendor to vendor.  Decide if the vendor should do everything necessary to get the program up and running and then let you take it from there — or whether you will need a significant amount of hands-on follow up from the vendor before, during and after the program roll-out. Vendors with superior customer service should be able to not only solve problems, but also anticipate and prevent future issues (12).
  • HIPPA Guidelines.  As outlined by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services “Where a workplace wellness program is offered as part of a group health plan, the individually identifiable health information collected from or created about participants in the wellness program is personal health information and protected by the HIPAA Rules.”  It is important to note that, “where a workplace wellness program is offered by an employer directly and not as part of a group health plan, the health information that is collected from employees by the employer is not protected by the HIPAA Rules.  However, other Federal or state laws may apply and regulate the collection and/or use of the information (13).”  Regardless of which way your wellness program is set-up, it is essential to maintain the utmost confidentiality of any personal health information for anyone involved – your vendor should support this regulation. 
  • Does the vendor provide innovative solutions?  Not all employee groups are going to be impressed by a power-point presentation during a lunch & learn.  Does the vendor offer different services and solutions for groups? Certain groups may benefit more from seminars, while other groups may prefer workshops and/or demonstrations.  Does the vendor offer solutions for remote employees?  Innovation in worksite-wellness is diversifying, with programs focusing on mental-health, healthy office spaces, providing work-place access to healthcare, and more (14). 
  • Will the vendor customize programs to meet the specific needs of your employees?  Companies vary greatly in their background, culture, environment, and employee population.  Your wellness vendor/s should seek to understand your company, and from that information develop a customized approach that will best meet the needs of your company.  Best-in-class programs are designed to benefit the company as a whole, and within it, each employee. 
  • How does the vendor measure participant satisfaction?  To ensure that your employees are enjoying your worksite wellness program the vendor should be tracking and measuring participant satisfaction.  This can be accomplished with simple surveys following events.  Your vendor should report the survey results to you in a timely fashion, and be able to adapt and modify future programs based on the employee feedback. 

Step 4: Determine your need for Program Support. 

 Questions to consider:

Does the program provide marketing and PR support?  When you launch or reintroduce your wellness program its crucial for your employees to know about it. You may ask yourself, “How should I inform them about our program?” This is where the creativity and thoughtful promotion from the vendor come into play. Do they provide online marketing? Do they provide promotional materials such as flyers and brochures? Do they offer email marketing services?  Your vendor should be able to offer you savvy marketing options that will inform and spark interest in your employees. Vendors who provide excellent marketing and PR support can take this work off of your plate.

  • Does the program provide scheduling advice?  One way of getting positive feedback and outcomes is by having frequently scheduled events and activities within your wellness program. Does your vendor work with you to determine the best timing and frequency for events?  Do they outline your up-and-coming event in a simple format?  Consistency is key. Consistency allows for progress to be monitored and accurate results on changes in employee participation and, most importantly, changes in their health.
  • Does the program have a wellness portal and/or social media presence?  Wellness Portals can provide access for employees to register for events (bio-metric screening), join challenges (walking and/or weight loss) and keep track of their wellness points (incentive management).  Does your vendor offer a wellness portal, and if so, is it simple to use?  Social Media is becoming the go-to for wellness awareness. Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn have created an open opportunity for wellness vendors to showcase who they are, and what they can offer. Your employees will appreciate having this information to reference, which they can access easily at any time. Your employees will appreciate having the option of multiple online resources from your wellness vendor.
  • Does the program provide mobile options?  According to new research from the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, 68% of Americans own a smartphone (17) Consumers rely on mobile options to communicate, go online, and access and share information.  It’s a natural fit for your employees to be able to access information from your wellness vendor, when they are using their mobile device. 

Step 5: Determine the Programs’ Practicality and Accessibility for Your Employees

Questions to consider:

  • Does your program provide diverse offerings?  Diversity is key in capturing maximum employee participation. Your wellness program needs to be accessible, relatable, and appealing to your employees. Does the vendor offer services that cover many aspects of health and wellness such as nutrition education and disease management, stress reduction, physical fitness, and smoking cessation? Can your vendor customize your events based on your corporate culture and your employees’ needs? The ability to pick from a wide array of services will ensure your employees truly benefit from and fully enjoy your wellness program.
  • Does your program address all aspects of wellness?  Wellness is more than physical health; wellness encompasses social, occupational, and intellectual aspects as well.  Consumers are becoming more curious about additional ways to live a healthy life (18). Is your vendor current and providing a holistic wellness approach with a variety of related topics? Does your vendor offer solutions for your employees with programs encompassing positivity, mindfulness, relaxation and self-care? To be successful, wellness programs must be comprehensive, tailored to the population, creatively marketed, and embraced by top management (19).

 Conclusion

The Harvard Business Review has found that great corporate wellness programs make an impact by, “managing to shift people’s relationship with health from one where health is something thought about and ‘practiced’ annually at the doctor’s office, to one where health is practiced daily through small lifestyle habits (20).” Employee wellness has shifted from a “nice-to-have” to a “must-have” for companies whose focus is on attracting and retaining top talent. As you want your employees to invest in your company by providing their best work, the company in turn must be willing to invest in their people with programs that will help them to lead healthy and happy lives.

If you are interested in learning more about a best-in-class corporate wellness vendor that is rated 99% in customer satisfaction, please contact B.Komplete for your free corporate wellness consultation at b.komplete@gmail.com and for more information please visit information about our programs.

 B.Educated, B.Inspired, B.Komplete

References:

  1.  http://www.cdc.gov/workplacehealthpromotion/pdfs/Workplace_Health_Program_Definition_and_Description.pdf
  2. https://www.manning-napier.com/Portals/0/documents/insights/white-papers/why-wellness-matters.pdf
  3. http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/adult_data/cig_smoking/
  4. http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/fast_facts/
  5. http://www.acsworkplacesolutions.com/documents/WBGHIssueBriefonSmokingCessation.pdf
  6. http://www.businessknowhow.com/manage/presenteeism.htm
  7. http://www.businessnewsdaily.com/2267-workplace-stress-health-epidemic-perventable-employee-assistance-programs.html#sthash.9y0Ncoww.dpuf
  8. http://ajhpcontents.org/doi/abs/10.4278/ajhp.120905-QUAN-428
  9. https://www.dol.gov/ebsa/pdf/workplacewellnessstudyfinal.pdf
  10. http://www.rsellers.com/images/Results-Oriented%20Wellness%20Programs.pdf
  11. http://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/dnpao/hwi/programdesign/employee_surveys.htm
  12. http://www.hrbenefitsalert.com/7-questions-answer-before-picking-wellness-vendor/
  13. http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/privacy/hipaa/understanding/coveredentities/wellness/index.html
  14. http://www.guidespark.com/blog/trends-next-generation-employee-wellness-programs/
  15. http://fortune.com/2015/04/13/corporate-wellness/
  1. http://wellnessproposals.com/guide-to-worksite-wellness-programs/market-the-wellness-program/
  2. http://www.pcworld.com/article/2999631/phones/pew-survey-shows-68-percent-of-americans-now-own-a-smartphone.html
  3. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/alisha-bhagat/a-little-is-a-lot-health-and-wellness-trends-2016_b_9393638.html
  4. https://www.cdc.gov/pcd/issues/2012/12_0092.htm
  5. https://hbr.org/2014/03/what-great-corporate-wellness-programs-do
  6. https://www.americanexpress.com/us/small-business/openforum/articles/crazy-corporate-wellness-programs-that-work/
  7. http://www.uswwa.org/files/2010/11/WellnessReport.pdf

 

 

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