An intensive behavioral modification intervention program delivered to employees in a health care setting may result in significant short-term and long-term benefits in weight reduction, improved blood pressure (BP) control and HbA1c levels, according to a new prospective study presented at the American College of Cardiology (ACC) Scientific Sessions 2015.
At a Miami hospital, researchers enrolled 230 employees in their wellness program. The group was 78% women and 48% Hispanic, with a mean age of 48 years. The retention of subjects was high at 6 months (80%; 185 employees) and at 1 year (65%; 150 employees).
The researchers found that BMI was reduced by more than 5% in 31% of participants. Further, there were significant improvements in the distribution of the number of components of metabolic syndrome from baseline to 1 year of follow-up.
“We were not surprised by the findings. We were very confident from the start. Our goal was to improve the biometrics of our participants and sustain those improvements over the long-term. In addition to seeing similar trends in our earlier cohorts we strongly believed that, with the right balance of guidance and support, success would follow and we were right,” said study investigator Henry Guzman, MD, who is with Baptist Health South Florida in Miami.
It is currently estimated that 59% of the entire U.S. population is in the work force, according to Dr. Guzman. So, he said it makes sense to put a greater emphasis on worksite-based interventions to improve cardiovascular (CV) health.
In this study, the inclusion criteria included the presence of two or more cardiometabolic risk factors, such as total cholesterol ≥200 mg/dL; systolic BP ≥140 mm Hg or diastolic BP ≥90 mmHg; HbA1c ≥6.5%; and BMI ≥30. The intervention involved a multidisciplinary team comprised of an advanced nurse practitioner, registered dietician, exercise physiologist, certified diabetic educator and registered nurse.
Dr. Guzman said three main components may be part of this program’s success: diet/nutrition, physical fitness and a wellness check-up with the multidisciplinary team.
“Our findings are immensely relevant, particularly in the realm of blood sugar control. The cost of treating diabetes and its complications have soared in the last decade. Our program is designed to treat all aspects of a person’s health and well-being. While we have had consistent positive results across the board, we have seen dramatic long-term improvements with our diabetic population,” Dr. Guzman told Endocrinology Advisor.
Dr. Guzman said approximately 30% of the working population has high cardiometabolic risk. A workplace intervention has merit because it aligns itself with an endocrinologist’s objectives and supports the practical components needed to address total health.
“Although anecdotal at this time, we have had multiple participants significantly reduce and/or come off diabetic medications. We hope to publish these findings in the near future,” said Dr. Guzman.
- Guzman H et al. Abstract 1178-120. Presented at: American College of Cardiology (ACC) 64th Annual Scientific Session & Expo; March 14-16, 2015; San Diego.