Planning on attending RIM's in Philadelphia April 23rd-26th? Come visit the IPCS booth (2629). We look forward to seeing you there!Read more
IPCS in conjunction with University Of Colorado Health System Presents: Preserve Your Workforce Investment
Join us May 16, 2017 from 7:30am-10:00am. Dr. Gilliam will present on topics including:
- The health status of the workplace
- Muscle mass as a risk factor
- How to legally and objectively measure strength
Reserve your seat today by contacting Sandy Kieffer at
Over the years I have been a strong proponent of incorporating muscle strength training into lifestyle activities, not only to prevent osteoporosis, loss of muscle as we age, better joint stability and better overall functionality, but also to reduce the risk of certain diseases such as Type II diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Many refereed publications support the importance of muscle strength training to reduce Type II diabetes and cardiovascular disease. A recent article published in the Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise in January 20171 takes the research to a new level in that this research tracked 35,754 females ages 47-98 years over 10 years (longitudinally 2000-2014) to measure the effects of strength training on the risk of getting Type II diabetes or cardiovascular disease. The findings show that women who participated in strength training exercises compared to those who did not had a decrease in the rate of developing Type II diabetes by approximately 30% and for developing cardiovascular disease by about 17%. If aerobic physical activity was added to the analysis in addition to strength training, an additional risk reduction was realized.
The study looked at various levels of strength training in terms of time (minutes) per week and showed that any level of strength training generated reduction in risk for Type II diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
One additional benefit identified in the study was that any level of strength training also led to a lower body mass index (BMI), healthier dietary patterns and lower likelihood of being a smoker.
It should be noted that many studies show similar results for man but the MSSE study was the first longitudinal study.
Bottom line, with the increase in Type II diabetes and metabolic syndrome (includes cardiovascular risk), changes need to be made to our lifestyle choices if we elect to be healthy. Adding strength training to our weekly activities has so many health benefits besides the reduction in Type II diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Getting involved with strength training exercises does not necessarily mean joining a fitness center. Many strength activities can be done in your own home.
1Shiroma, EJ, et.al. Strength Training and the Risk of Type 2 Diabetes and Cardiovascular Disease. Med. Sci. Sports Exerc., Vol 49, pp.40-46, 2017Read more
Use the link below to access the recorded version of Dr. Gilliam's first webcast of 2017.
Listen to Webcast
In an article that appeared in the December 2016 Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine authored by Dr. Caretto and others entitled "Association Between Exercise Frequency and Health Care Costs Among Employees at a Large University and Academic Medical Center", the research clearly shows a strong association between the level of physical activity and medical/pharmacy costs. Bottom line is that individuals that complete at least 30-minutes of aerobic exercise 4-5 times per week have the lowest medical and pharmacy costs. They are healthier individuals.
Individuals with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 35 or more had the greatest costs associated with medical and pharmacy claims. However, if an obese person exercises 4-5 times per week, they have lower medical/pharmacy costs compared to other obese individuals within the same obese category. Individuals with Body Mass Indexes less than 30 had the lowest medical and pharmacy costs. Individuals across all Body Mass Index groups who exercised 0-1 time per week had the highest medical/pharmacy costs.
Why is this important to know? In a recent blog, I wrote about the first increase in the annual deaths due to heart disease and stroke in 2015 since 1969. The research mentioned above speaks to the issue of obesity as a co-morbidity as well as physical inactivity and the impact of these two factors on increasing the risk for heart disease, cerebrovascular disease, diabetes and hypertension. There is also a strong association with obesity/physical inactivity with risk for injury.
Within the research article stated above, the critical factor resulting in higher medical/pharmacy costs and therefore poorer health was physical inactivity. Ironically, as a country, we are moving the wrong direction- more sedentary activity than physical activity. This will only lead to more deaths, healthcare and workers' compensation costs until the time comes when physical activity is put back into our daily routines.
It is difficult for industry to provide activity sessions in the workplace. Perhaps the best action that industry can take is to offer incentives built into the employees' health plan to become more physically active. Legally, offer lower deductibles for those who are more physically active as supported by healthier biometric measures including physical strength.
IPCS is working with several clients who have done this and they are now realizing significant savings in medical, pharmacy and workers' compensation costs.Read more
Some disturbing news was released by the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and reported in the Wall Street Journal, December 8, 2016, showing that deaths caused by heart disease in the U.S. increased by 0.9% in 2015 and death by stroke increased 3%. This is the first increase since 1969. These two statistics also resulted in the first time in many years a decrease by one-tenth of a percentage point in life expectancy.
It appears that obesity and diabetes are the two main contributing factors to the increase in death due to heart disease. As we become more automated both at work and at home, the level of physical activity each American has each day diminishes unless a deliberate effort is made to remain physically active. The largest organ in the body is muscle and muscle is made to work. Sedentary lifestyles (low levels of physical activity) increases risk for diabetes, obesity and loss of muscular strength. The heart too is a muscle and it too responds favorably to physical activity.
The IPCS database shows that obesity (as measured by a Body Mass Index – BMI - of 30 or more) over the past 3-years has leveled off at 41% of each year’s pool of new hire applicants. However, the bad news is that the IPCS data shows that the obese are becoming more obese. Since 2006 through 2015, the percentage of morbid (BMI 40-49.9) and extreme morbid (BMI 50 and more) increased from 4.6% to 7.6% which, statistically, is a 65% increase.
The IPCS data also shows that the new hire applicant from 2006 to 2015 weighs 13 pounds more, has 18% less absolute shoulder strength and 23% less absolute knee strength. This puts the applicant at greater risk for injury and disease. There is a number of research studies that clearly shows low muscular strength can increase the risk for the Metabolic Syndrome, Diabetes and Cardiovascular Disease.
I have stated this many times - fifty years of research by the American College of Sports Medicine clearly show that physically active individuals are healthier individuals. Maintaining a strong and healthy muscle mass is critical to good health. The IPCS PCE is a good tool to measure muscular strength as it relates to disease and safety.Read more
"Nurses often encounter situations that require lifting patients, often using awkward body positions. Hiring nurses with strength suitable for these jobs decreases nurses' risk for illness and injury and would be expected to result in more appropriate and lower health care, pharmacy, and disability costs." To read more from the published article written by Paul Terpeluk, DO, MPH, Bruce Rogen, MD, MPH, and Thomas Gilliam, PhD, please click on the following link.
Clev Clinic Research Article
Looks can be deceiving. Look out at your workforce and see if you can actually spot the ones who are stronger, healthier and able to safely perform the essential functions of the job with minimal risk for injury, decreased lost time and fewer workers' comp claims. Chances are that's difficult to do with any degree of accuracy. A person who may look trim and fit may be your unhealthiest worker. A critical measure to the health and well-being of your workforce is the worker's strength to body weight ratio-a new predictor of health and safety.
Click below to review Dr. Gilliam's recent webcast that addresses muscular strength and its connection to the safety and well-being of your workforce.
Click to view.
Throughout America, employers face multiple challenges to maintaining and growing their companies in the face of a range of demographic and health challenges. They increasingly recognize they cannot afford to assume physical competence of every applicant, nor acceptance of conventional retirement age to keep their workforce stable in health and physical capability. Click on the following link to learn how one of our client’s is proactively dealing with these challenges.
In the early part of 2015, IPCS asked our EEO law firm, Kastner Westman and Wilkins, LLC (KWW) to research and review court cases that could be used to justify incumbent physical capability evaluations (PCE). We asked our law firm to undertake this task because many of our clients and prospective clients asked if the incumbent worker can be re-evaluated on some fixed time period. Most of the questions focused on the new hire going forward.
As the write-up states, every company and each job classification must be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. It does appear that PCE for the incumbent worker can be done as long as job relatedness can be demonstrated and workplace safety is a concern and thereby consistent with business necessity.
The document attached below was reviewed and approved by KWW regarding incumbent PCE.
Incumbent Testing Can It Be Done
In a recent blog, Jeffrey Seibert, Willis National Technical Director for Casualty Claims and Critical Incident, talks about the importance of building strength as we age and the effects this has on future workers' compensation costs.
The New Vital Sign
In an analysis of two hospital groups not only of injury loss runs but also benefit and pharmacy claims, the PCE does select a healthier and more fit worker as demonstrated by the following two case studies.
Hospital Savings - ROI
It has been the position of IPCS that focusing on muscular strength via wellness and safety programs will have a dramatic impact on reducing workers' compensation, medical and pharmacy costs.
Vital Sign To Workplace Health