Corporate Fitness and Active Aging

Knowing Family Health History Helps Identify Employee Health Risks

This blog was written by Mechelle Meadows. Meet our blogging fitness specialists at the NIFS website.

We all know of cases where an individual in seemingly perfect health has a sudden heart attack or cancer diagnosis. The unfortunate truth is that genetics can sometimes outweigh a person’s healthy efforts. This is not meant to discourage your corporate wellness participants, but to stress the importance of knowing their family health histories.Grandpa to Grandson resized 600

Ask Corporate Fitness Members to Fill Out a Health History Questionnaire

Before joining a corporate fitness center, all members should fill out a standard Health History Questionnaire (HHQ). In my opinion, “family history of heart disease” may be the risk factor on this form that individuals and health professionals overlook most often. Encourage your participants to examine their family health history, searching especially for diseases that may be rare―such as certain forms of cancer or any heart disease at an early age.

Have Employees Interview Family Members About Health Issues

This AARP article suggests conducting interviews of sorts among family members to see what health problems arose, at what stage of life, what factors could have contributed, and what treatment option was taken. I would add to this list finding out what symptoms were first experienced so that other family members can have a heightened awareness before a disease progresses.

Designate a month out of your corporate health and wellness programming for members to find out their health histories. Make a form, maybe even similar to a family tree, where participants can make notes on their relatives, starting with immediate family.

Encourage employees to discuss any alarming discoveries with their physicians. Just like the campaign for knowing your numbers, this information can be lifesaving.

Topics: corporate wellness employee health disease prevention