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Eaton-Kenway: a sane way to eat and live.

Eaton-Kenway A Sane Way to Eat and Live

The U.S. Health Care Financing Administration projects America's health-care costs per person will more than double in the 1990s. The average person paid $1,973 in 1987, $2,511 in 1990, and will pay a projected $5,551 in the year 2000.

Businesses bear a larger share of this financial burden each year. Research reveals that health-care costs are 2.5 times the Consumer Price Index, and the expenses paid by business and industry are increasing at twice this inflated rate.

According to the Association for Fitness in Business, the rate of inflation is 3.2 percent. Health-care costs, however, are rising 8.7 percent each year. Health-care costs paid by businesses, meanwhile, are escalating at an alarming 16 to 20 percent each year.

Most of these health-care dollars are spent on treatment of preventable diseases caused largely by the American worker's life-style - sedentary, nutritionally poor, and stressful. Consequently, most companies have instituted cost-containment policies to minimize misuse of the health-care system. Further, many companies are now implementing sound health and fitness programs to help prevent the illnesses which cause these costs to soar.

A Utah Company Takes Control

"Good Health is often a matter of time. It is sometimes also a matter of opportunity," wrote Hippocrates.

He was right. The most important influence on an individual's good health is not disease or heredity - though they play a large part - but lifestyle. Because our lifestyles are within our control, so is our health. We have to take the opportunity to improve it.

Eaton-Kenway is a Utah corporation providing the opportunity for its employees to take control and improve their personal health. The company's human resources department has developed a health-awareness program that reaches out to every employee with seminars and printed health-education information.

Eaton-Kenway is the leading materials-management corporation in the world. Kenway conceptualizes, designs, and installs automated material-handling systems for companies large and small. These sophisticated systems solve distribution, processing, storage, and routing problems. The company employs more than 400 people at its plants in Salt Lake and Bountiful.

Big Benefits for Little or No Cost

When developing the health-awareness programs for the employees, the human resources people decided they needed to help employees understand the personal benefits of preventive measures such as exercise, proper nutrition, and sensible dieting before employees would pursue them. Employees needed to know the dangers of stress, obesity, and inactivity before they would be motivated to work to correct their habits. To meet those needs, the human resources department enlisted the help of non-profit organizations and state agencies willing to share volunteers, programs, and brochures for little or no cost.

Some programs that have been offered to Eaton-Kenway employees at both of the firm's worksites are:

* "The Great American Food Fight against Cancer," by the American Cancer Society;

* "Child Abuse - Everyone's Responsibility," by the Department of Human Services;

* "Skin Cancer Awareness Month," by a local specialist;

* Blood-pressure and cholesterol screening, by the Salt Lake County Health Department;

* "Depression," by Human Affairs International;

* "Slim for Life," by the American Heart Association.

Friendly Reminders

Eaton-Kenway also distributes a monthly payroll insert with a health-related theme as a regular educational tool. Interoffice voice mail is also used to remind employees of events and to communicate additional health tips. Each employee and his or her immediate family is entitled to use the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) provided by the company, which includes three free visits to a mental-health advisor. The company offers this benefit in addition to individual insurance plans.

Eaton-Kenway has a smoking policy which prohibits smokers from smoking in open areas. Smokers are permitted to smoke in their private offices with the door closed and with a smoke-absorption device in the room.

Success and Leadership

Effective leadership is more crucial to a successful health and fitness program than elaborate facilities or expensive equipment. Eaton-Kenway has that effective leadership. They have put together a comprehensive, low-cost program. Managers have created the opportunity for their employees to learn. Now each employee must take Hippocrates at his word and seize the opportunities that will lead to good health.

PHOTO : Passive smoking or breathing second-hand smoke (exhaled smoke) and sidestream smoke (smoke from a burning cigarette) is hazardous to one's health. The smoke that comes off the burning end of the cigarette releases more nicotine and cadmium than exhaled smoke.

Raylene Thueson is a health and fitness consultant in the Salt Lake area and chair for the Association for Fitness in Business.
COPYRIGHT 1991 Olympus Publishing Co.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1991 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Utah materials-management corporation develops health-awareness programs for employees
Author:Thueson, Raylene
Publication:Utah Business
Date:Nov 1, 1991
Words:751
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