Physically active jobs lower prostate cancer risk
Physically active jobs lower prostate cancer risk
Men with physically active jobs have less risk of prostate cancer, concludes a study of over 2,100 men who worked at the Rocketdyne rocket engine testing facility in Los Angeles, many of whom had increased risk for certain cancers due to exposure to radiation and chemicals.
Researchers identified 362 men with prostate cancer and compared them to 1,805 men who did not get prostate cancer, and found that the men who developed prostate cancer were less likely to have physically active jobs such as metal fitters, welders and lift operators.
"Based on the results of this study, it may be important for occupational health professionals to educate employees on the benefits of increased physical activity levels, especially if they have a very sedentary job," says Anusha Krishnadasan, MPH, PhD, the study's author and an epidemiologist at Olive View-UCLA Education and Research Institute in Sylmar, CA.
98% are motivated
At Stamford, CT-based Pitney Bowes, employees are challenged to walk one million steps as a company throughout the course of one day, for the company's "One in a Million Day" event. "The challenge is designed to give employees the motivation to make small lifestyle changes to increase daily physical activity," says J. Brent Pawlecki, MD, corporate medical director.
The event is promoted through the internal intranet, home mailings, employee e-mails, and through onsite wellness coordinators. Employees are given free pedometers to count their steps during the day of the challenge, and can log their steps into a website throughout the day and track the company's progress.
Participation numbers increased from 1107 in 2007 to 1786 employees in 2008–an increase of 61%. "Participants submitted a total of 11,296,301 steps on the day of the program in 2008," says Pawlecki. "This is an increase of 6,512,166 steps, more than double the amount of steps taken in 2007."
Before the 2008 event, 47% of pre-registered participants reported consistency and 51% reported inconsistency in their physical activity habits. Afterward, 98% of participants who completed an evaluation reported that the event motivated them to increase or stay consistent with their current physical activity level.
The event subsequently created a grassroots movement within the company, with daily onsite walking groups started at multiple sites. "We are following this year's program with a six-week walking program that encourages and builds walking habits on a weekly basis, increasing from 2,000 steps per day to 10,000 steps per day throughout the program," says Pawlecki. "The average step count per participant each week has been over the weekly goal by at least 1,000 steps."
Get employees to increase activity
At Madison, NJ-based Quest Diagnostics, the company's health risk assessment revealed that 27% of employees report doing zero activity in a given week and 87% do not meet national guidelines for aerobic activity and strength training.
"Although we would like everyone to be active 30 minutes a day, five days a week, we know this will not happen overnight," says Dori Bontempo-Ziegler, employee wellness program manager. "By promoting our employees to be active in their everyday activities, we believe this will impact their healthand eventually, our bottom line."
Encouraging employees to be active is a key focus area for the health promotion teams of each business unit. Some locations offer onsite fitness classes such as yoga, pilates, aerobics, and strength training, while others play workout videos in conference rooms during employee breaks.
If space is too limited for these activities, then stairwell use is promoted instead. "Employee walking breaks are not uncommon," Bontempo-Ziegler says. "For off-campus activities, our employees participate in a variety of walks and runs tied to their favorite charities."
The company is partnering with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Team In Training to coordinate employees from across the company to walk or run in a half or full marathon later this year. "As this opportunity will only target a small percentage of our employees, we are also creating a national fitness challenge that will be available to employees of all activity levels," says Bontempo-Ziegler. "We look forward to seeing how our employees respond to this concept. The initial reaction has been extremely positive."
For more information on increasing the physical activity of employees, contact:
- Anusha Krishnadasan, MPH, PhD, Olive View-UCLA Education and Research Institute, Sylmar, CA. Phone: (818) 364-3434. Fax: (818) 364-3465. E-mail: [email protected]
- J. Brent Pawlecki, MD, Corporate Medical Director, Pitney Bowes, Stamford, CT. Phone: (203) 356-5000.
- Dori Bontempo-Ziegler, Employee Wellness Program Manager, Quest Diagnostics Incorporated, Madison, NJ. Phone: (800) 222-0446.
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