August 29, 2012 (Munich, Germany) — Preliminary data from a work fitness program suggests that prevention strategies might be more effective if they target individuals in the workplace rather than the doctor’s office. The program, started in 2005, reduced the rates of smoking, improved blood pressure control, reduced the incidence of metabolic syndrome, and improved the 10-year predicted risk of cardiovascular disease, according to researchers.
“The workplace is the ideal setting for primary and secondary prevention, because there we can get access to all patients at risk,” said Dr Johannes Scholl (Prevention First, Ruedesheim, Germany) during a presentation closing out the European Society of Cardiology 2012 Congress. “Close cooperation between respective departments of occupational medicine and specialist prevention clinics is the basis for good compliance and success.”
For Scholl, the workplace is better suited for primary and secondary prevention, as many younger patients, including those with undetected hypertension and elevated cholesterol levels, are not frequent users of primary-care physicians. As a result, many of their cardiovascular risk factors go untreated.
Fit in Life, Fit on the Job
Initiated in 2004 and known as the “Fit in Life, Fit on the Job” program, Boehringer Ingelheim employees in Germany were enrolled through the department of occupational medicine. During their index visit, physical examinations and family-history assessments were performed, and all biometric data recorded. Two weeks later, employees went to the Prevention First clinic for a more complete assessment, including baseline carotid intima-media thickness (IMT) measurements, fitness testing to maximal exhaustion, and a full cardiovascular risk assessment. After these examinations, individuals were shown their 10-year and longer-term risk of cardiovascular disease and prescribed comprehensive nutritional and exercise recommendations. Continue reading