AHA: Employee Health Program Improves Heart Health

Participants in employer-sponsored program experience better heart health, reduced costs
By Monica Smith
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, May 21 (HealthDay News) -- Workers participating in a large employee health program experienced improvements in cardiovascular disease risk factors, which resulted in lower cardiovascular-related medical and hospital costs in relation to total medical costs, according to research presented at the American Heart Association's Quality of Care and Outcomes Research in Cardiovascular Disease and Stroke 2010 Scientific Sessions, held May 19-21 in Washington, D.C.

Kenneth Glover, M.S., of CSX Transportation in Jacksonville, Fla., and colleagues analyzed 2006-2008 data on 5,768 participants in an employee health promotion program developed by CSX Transportation to address cardiovascular disease. The program included biometric screenings, nutrition and exercise coaching, and on-site fitness centers.

The researchers found that the mean total cholesterol in employees with dyslipidemia declined from 196.4 to 185.2 mg/dL, HDL increased from 38.7 to 42.1 mg/dL, the total cholesterol/HDL ratio decreased from 5.5 to 4.9, and employees reaching LDL goals increased from 48 percent to 62.4 percent. In employees with hypertension, mean blood pressure decreased from 137.2/86.1 to 125.4/80.2 mm Hg, and achievement of blood pressure goals rose from 42.5 percent to 67.4 percent. The percentage of employees with cardiovascular-related medical claims declined from 56.6 percent to 48.3 percent, and the percentage of employees with cardiovascular-related hospital claims declined from 6 percent to 4.3 percent. Cardiovascular-related hospital claims declined from 2.5 percent to 1.7 percent.

"As a result of the program, cardiovascular-related medical and hospital costs both declined significantly relative to total medical costs," the authors conclude.

One study author is an employee of Pfizer.

Abstract P303

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