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For the First Time Since 1969, Deaths Caused by Heart Disease Have Increased!

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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.

Medical and Pharmacy Costs for New Hire Nurses Following a Physical Strength Evaluation Screening in a Large Health System

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“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

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Looks can be deceiving-especially when it comes to health.

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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.

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Pre-employment Testing

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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.

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Incumbent PCE Testing – Can It Be Done?

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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