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  • Writer's pictureWellness Workdays

Diabetes Do’s and Don’ts: Structuring a Chronic Disease Wellness Program for Your Population

Preventing and managing prediabetes and diabetes through workplace interventions can play a key role in not only improving employees' health and productivity but also controlling overall healthcare costs. With over 38 million Americans living with diabetes and an additional 97 million Americans living with prediabetes, a strategic approach is imperative for business success. Developing a comprehensive chronic disease program that targets behavior change, education, and accountability is both effective and worthwhile. Here are some key do’s and don’ts to ensure your program is both impactful and sustainable.

Do: Focus on Healthy Behaviors and Meet Employees Where They Are

One-size-fits-all approaches rarely work in chronic disease management. A successful diabetes program should prioritize healthy behaviors tailored to individual needs. Start by understanding the demographics and specific health challenges of your workforce. Are there organizational changes that could be leveraged to promote healthier eating? Do certain job roles make physical activity more challenging? Use this information to design interventions that resonate with your employees’ daily lives.

Programs like lunchtime walking groups, on-site healthy cooking classes, and stress management workshops can be effective. Remember, the goal is to integrate these healthy behaviors into the fabric of your employees' routines, making them accessible and relevant.

Don’t: Make it a One and Done

Diabetes management requires ongoing effort. A single health fair or an annual biometric screening won't suffice. Continuous engagement is crucial. Implement regular check-ins and follow-up activities. Monthly educational sessions, quarterly health challenges, and bi-annual wellness retreats can maintain momentum and keep employees engaged.

Regular communication through newsletters, webinars, and personalized health tips can also help keep diabetes management top of mind. The key is to create a program that evolves and adapts to meet the changing needs of your workforce.

Do: Check Biometrics

Regular monitoring of biometrics such as blood sugar levels, cholesterol, and blood pressure is essential in managing diabetes. Encourage your employees to participate in biometric screenings and provide easy access to these services, either on-site or through local partnerships.

Make sure the biometric data is used constructively. For example, integrate the results into personalized health plans or technology and provide feedback that can help employees understand their health status and take actionable steps towards improvement. Data-driven insights can empower employees to make informed decisions about their health.

Don’t: Skip Out on Health Coaching

Health coaching is a critical component of a comprehensive diabetes management program. Personalized coaching can help employees navigate their health journey, providing support, motivation, and accountability. Health coaches can assist with goal setting, dietary planning,

exercise support, and education, making the process less daunting and more achievable. By investing in quality health coaching services you can provide your employees with the personalized guidance they need.

Do: Create an incentive

Incentives can be powerful motivators. Consider offering tangible rewards for participation in diabetes management programs and for achieving health milestones. This could include gift cards, discounts on health insurance premiums, extra vacation days, or wellness-related merchandise.

However, incentives should be carefully designed to be fair and motivating without being punitive. Ensure that the criteria for earning incentives are clear, attainable, and inclusive, fostering a sense of accomplishment and encouraging sustained participation.

Don’t: Separate wellness culture from work culture.

Healthy workplaces and healthy people equal successful businesses. By prioritizing employee health it impacts organizational climate and culture. Foster a culture of health by embedding wellness into your company’s values and everyday practices. Leadership should model healthy behaviors, and wellness should be a topic in team meetings and corporate communications.

Encourage a supportive environment where employees feel comfortable discussing health issues and seeking help. Celebrate wellness successes and share stories of improvement. By making wellness a part of the company’s DNA, you can create a supportive community that champions health and well-being.

Implementing an evidence-based, comprehensive workplace wellness program that engages workers in their health can reduce risk factors of diabetes and provide means of more effective disease management. By focusing on healthy behaviors, providing continuous support, leveraging biometric data, offering health coaching, creating meaningful incentives, and integrating wellness into the organizational culture, you can develop a robust program that benefits both your employees and your organization. Want to learn more? Contact us to help you strategize the best ways to improve prediabetes and diabetes prevalence in your employee population.


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