|CIGNA Worksite Wellness Program Takes Aim At Metabolic Syndrome
CIGNA has added a new worksite lifestyle improvement
program, Metabolic Syndrome Improvement Program (MSIP), to help people
combat metabolic syndrome, a condition significantly increasing the
risk of an individual developing type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
The intensive, 90-day program is designed to help people
increase physical activity, eat better, lose weight and reduce stress.
One of the key elements is access to a social networking site that
gives participants an opportunity to share their experiences and keep
one another motivated toward making healthy behavior changes.
Individuals are considered to have metabolic syndrome if
they have three or more risk factors – weight, good cholesterol,
blood pressure and elevated fasting blood sugar as determined by
numbers. For example, elevated blood pressure of 130/85 or higher, or a
triglyceride count of 150 or higher puts the individual at risk.
Program participants record their numbers at the
beginning and end of the program so they can monitor their own progress
as they reach desired numbers.
"These types of programs have the potential to reduce
the risk for two of the nation’s leading causes of death –
diabetes and heart disease," said Dr. David M. Kendall, chief
scientific and medical officer of the American Diabetes Association.
MSIP consists of weekly one-hour sessions for 35 to 50
participants facilitated by a health advocate at an employer’s
worksite, although sessions can also be delivered online.
The facilitator helps participants understand the
relationship between lifestyle and chronic disease and helps them learn
to make healthy choices related to carbohydrates, proteins and fats.
Some sessions focus on making those choices at the
supermarket or when dining out, while other sessions focus on
cardiovascular activity, strength training and stress management.
Participants also have access to additional online learning modules at
any time. They also receive a workbook with motivational articles,
health tips, check lists and homework assignments.
In the workplace employees with MSIP spend four times as
much on medication and miss twice as many days of work due to illness
compared to their healthier co-workers.
MSIP "delivers a holistic experience that addresses
several key health risks that, taken together, can lead to long-term,
life-changing health consequences," said Tom Richards, senior vice
president and product leader for CIGNA. It offers "people an
opportunity to improve their health, well-being and sense of security."
Address: CIGNA, Two Liberty Place, 1601 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19192; (215) 761-1000, www.cigna.com.