January 20, 2004

A new year can mean a healthier you

Katherine Hinson is director of Human Resources communications.

For many people, the beginning of 2004 meant making resolutions for the new year, and one resolution heard year after year is to be healthier.

Different people have different definitions of what it is to “be healthy.” For some it is about watching their diet, while for others it is exercising more or improving their mental health that’s important.

Yet many people don’t know where or how to start. Just turning on the television or the computer can mean being overwhelmed with information on how to lose weight, join a health club, eat better, etc. There doesn’t appear to be any “right” way, but one thing is certain: It takes effort to achieve this goal.

Here are some tips to help get that jump start on a healthier new year:

• Manage stress. Learn relaxation techniques like deep breathing or meditation. Write in a journal. Talk to friends or a professional about what is bothering you.

• Restrict sugar, alcohol and fats (saturated and trans fats) in your diet.

• Eat more whole grains, legumes, fruits, vegetables and fish.

• Get enough restful sleep. Most adults need seven to eight hours a night.

• Get at least 30 minutes of brisk exercise every day.

• Give your immune system an extra boost with a multivitamin.

• Don’t smoke and avoid secondhand smoke.

• Maintain a healthy weight.

• Get the recommended screening tests and adult immunizations for your gender and age.

• Brush and floss to prevent dental disease.

Good health depends on access to and use of those services that help us manage our health goals. Emory provides employees several ways to manage their health goals including two new programs.

Emory Employee Access from Emory Healthcare
Beginning this month, the Emory Clinic is providing University and Emory Healthcare employees and their medical dependents with an accurate scheduling phone number for each specialty, along with a reliable back-up resource to help them schedule appointments. The phone lines will operate weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. This new program is designed to keep employees healthy by being more attentive to their access to services. Employees who do not receive a scheduling card should call 404-778-2626.

Supplemental health benefit programs
While not insured benefits, the following programs are either savings or discount programs that allow an employee to access nontraditional means of maintaining their health.

The EmoryChoice plan by Aetna includes:

• Wellness & Prevention Program provides members with Health Education Reminders.

• Health Outlook Program provides tools needed to prevent or delay complications associated with chronic conditions.

• Women’s Health Program includes services and educational materials from the start of pregnancy to birth.

• Vision One Discount Program offers discounts for eyeglasses, contacts and corrective surgery.

• Alternative Health Care Program includes discounts for natural alternatives (acupuncture, chiropractic, massage therapy and nutrition counseling), over-the-counter vitamins and supplements, and other holistic health products (aromatherapy, foot and body care, etc.).

For more information, visit www.aetna.com or call the member services number on your member ID card.

The Emory Care and HealthChoice Plans by Blue Cross/Blue Shield (BCBS) include:

• HealthyDrugstore.com offering up to 50 percent discounts on vitamins and supplements.

• HealthyRoads provides discounts for health and wellness products.

• BriteSmile offers BCBS members a $100 savings on the BriteSmile whitening treatment.

• Better Birth Foundation provides discount rates on classes.

• SelfHelp Works offers a 30 percent discount on programs to help stop smoking, live lean or manage alcohol.

• Vision services and products savings.

• Complementary medicine or “alternative medicine” including discounts for acupuncture, chiropractic care, therapeutic massages and mind-body techniques.

• Health improvement programs for coordinating ongoing services for specific conditions (asthma, congestive heart failure, diabetes, prenatal).

• Women’s Health provides tools for women to take charge of their health.

For more information, visit www.bcbsga.com or call the member services number on your member ID card.

Finally, the Faculty Staff Assistance Program offers guidance in the following areas: personal and/or personal relationships; alcohol, drug and other addictions; grief, depression and stress; health issues, weight loss and smoking cessation, etc.

Visit www.emory.edu/fsap for more information.