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Employers must take on some responsibility for employees' health in order to prevent obesity and chronic disease

Thursday, August 05, 2004
by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger
Editor of NaturalNews.com (See all articles...)
Tags: employers, employee health, natural light

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Ever thought about your workplace as being somewhere that you could get fit and lose weight? Most people don't, given that traditional offices are cubicles with artificial light that don't encourage physical movement other than dashing to the next meeting. But some companies, such as Sprint, are starting to create work environments that encourage walking, fitness, and exercise.

Sprint has a new campus in Overland Park, Kansas, that helps people lose weight. It encourages them to walk from the parking lot to their buildings and even engage in more frequent strolls throughout the 200 acre campus. It's all part of a growing movement where employers are finding that it pays off to help make their employees more healthy. I think this trend is accelerating and will prove to be a very smart trend, both in terms of employee health and productivity, but also in payoffs for the employers.

Allow me explain why. I've often said there's no such thing as mental health without physical health first, and I think this is especially relevant to the work environment. A person who suffers from physical health problems automatically has a diminished capacity for mental performance. I know that some people would argue with that, but in fact, a tremendous amount of evidence shows that body and mind are inseparable when it comes to health, and certainly outstanding nutrition, physical exercise, consumption of superfoods, and avoidance of certain food ingredients is well-known to enhance and support healthy brain function.

So, when an employer can make it convenient for employees to be healthier, that employer also receives a reward in terms of productivity and more capable employees. But the employee receives the biggest reward -- their own health. Because when an employee is healthy, they feel better about themselves, and they enjoy working more.

Unfortunately, so many of the workplaces in the United States and around the world are places that destroy human health. They use recirculated air, artificial fluorescent lighting, and fundamentally flawed designs of layout that stagnate creativity and essentially suppress the work of employees. In my own offices at Arial Software, I was able to get full-spectrum lighting installed, and was able to choose an office suite that brings in a large amount of natural light. So I'm one of those company CEOs that always looks out for the health interests of its employees and team members, but most companies aren't like that. They're far more interested in cutting costs than in providing natural light and healthy options for their employees.

The use of natural light can make a huge difference, not only in employee productivity, but also their attendance. When you bring in natural sunlight, you automatically help prevent clinical depression among your employee base. You will prevent osteoporosis and even help prevent breast cancer and prostate cancer in your employees. That's because natural sunlight is such a powerful healer -- in fact, I consider it an essential nutrient for human health. Employers would do well to bring in more natural sunlight into their buildings, even if they're only looking out for their own financial interests. Investing in natural lighting pays off.

What we really need in this country is a revolution in terms of the employer/employee relationships. In the past few decades, this has often been an adversarial relationship, where an employer viewed any benefit or enhancement to employees as being something that was a financial penalty to the employer. It was a win/lose situation. If we're going to fight obesity and prevent chronic disease in this nation, we're going to have to look at the workplace and initiate a changes in our culture where employers take on some responsibility for providing healthy options for their employees. I look at Japan, where many companies begin their day with a physical warm-up and stretching routine. In the United States we might think this is silly, but in fact the Japanese have it right: this kind of morning warm-up and flexibility habit results in enhanced health among the employees.

In the United States, however, too many people just lumber into their office chairs, then sit there in front of their computers for 8 hours a day, munching on snack foods and junk foods, then wondering why they go home and have all these health problems such as obesity or carpal tunnel syndrome. Well the answer is they're not engaging in healthy activities at work. So, the employer can make a huge difference here by encouraging employees to get out and take a walk, take a break, or get some natural sunlight on their skin. They can also provide options in terms of healthy nutrition by offering fruits and vegetables for employees to eat and making sure that there are no vending machines nearby that offer unhealthy processed foods or soft drinks. Instead, employees can be given options like juice drinks, bottled water, or fresh fruits and vegetables brought in on a daily basis.

I realize this is more expensive up front for the employer, but once again, the investment in your employees' health is more than enough justification for these upfront expenses. Let's face it: Americans spend 1/3 of their lives or more at their workplace. As a result, the workplace is a major influencing factor on the health of all Americans, and it is the workplace where we need to start making some long-term changes that support optimum health and prevent chronic disease.

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About the author:Mike Adams (aka the "Health Ranger") is a best selling author (#1 best selling science book on Amazon.com) and a globally recognized scientific researcher in clean foods. He serves as the founding editor of NaturalNews.com and the lab science director of an internationally accredited (ISO 17025) analytical laboratory known as CWC Labs. There, he was awarded a Certificate of Excellence for achieving extremely high accuracy in the analysis of toxic elements in unknown water samples using ICP-MS instrumentation. Adams is also highly proficient in running liquid chromatography, ion chromatography and mass spectrometry time-of-flight analytical instrumentation.

Adams is a person of color whose ancestors include Africans and Native American Indians. He's also of Native American heritage, which he credits as inspiring his "Health Ranger" passion for protecting life and nature against the destruction caused by chemicals, heavy metals and other forms of pollution.

Adams is the founder and publisher of the open source science journal Natural Science Journal, the author of numerous peer-reviewed science papers published by the journal, and the author of the world's first book that published ICP-MS heavy metals analysis results for foods, dietary supplements, pet food, spices and fast food. The book is entitled Food Forensics and is published by BenBella Books.

In his laboratory research, Adams has made numerous food safety breakthroughs such as revealing rice protein products imported from Asia to be contaminated with toxic heavy metals like lead, cadmium and tungsten. Adams was the first food science researcher to document high levels of tungsten in superfoods. He also discovered over 11 ppm lead in imported mangosteen powder, and led an industry-wide voluntary agreement to limit heavy metals in rice protein products.

In addition to his lab work, Adams is also the (non-paid) executive director of the non-profit Consumer Wellness Center (CWC), an organization that redirects 100% of its donations receipts to grant programs that teach children and women how to grow their own food or vastly improve their nutrition. Through the non-profit CWC, Adams also launched Nutrition Rescue, a program that donates essential vitamins to people in need. Click here to see some of the CWC success stories.

With a background in science and software technology, Adams is the original founder of the email newsletter technology company known as Arial Software. Using his technical experience combined with his love for natural health, Adams developed and deployed the content management system currently driving NaturalNews.com. He also engineered the high-level statistical algorithms that power SCIENCE.naturalnews.com, a massive research resource featuring over 10 million scientific studies.

Adams is well known for his incredibly popular consumer activism video blowing the lid on fake blueberries used throughout the food supply. He has also exposed "strange fibers" found in Chicken McNuggets, fake academic credentials of so-called health "gurus," dangerous "detox" products imported as battery acid and sold for oral consumption, fake acai berry scams, the California raw milk raids, the vaccine research fraud revealed by industry whistleblowers and many other topics.

Adams has also helped defend the rights of home gardeners and protect the medical freedom rights of parents. Adams is widely recognized to have made a remarkable global impact on issues like GMOs, vaccines, nutrition therapies, human consciousness.

In addition to his activism, Adams is an accomplished musician who has released over a dozen popular songs covering a variety of activism topics.

Click here to read a more detailed bio on Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, at HealthRanger.com.

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