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All-in-one approach to lifestyle changes effectively lowers blood pressure

The Help Spot

Changes to employee health, dental plans can be made during summer enrollment period

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All-in-one approach to lifestyle changes effectively lowers blood pressure

Lifestyle changes to prevent or control high blood pressure need not be made one at a time. According to a study supported by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), with special counseling, Americans can make all the needed changes at the same time. The best results were achieved when the lifestyle changes included adoption of a diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy products.

Results of this study, called PREMIER, appear in The Journal of the American Medical Association.

“This is the first time a host of behavioral steps to prevent or control high blood pressure has been put together in one intervention,” said NHLBI Director Dr. Claude Lenfant. “Past studies looked at one or two changes at a time, and it was thought that doing more would prove too hard. But PREMIER shows that an all-in-one approach works and can help Americans reduce their blood pressure, lowering their risk for heart disease and stroke.”

“Those in the study who made the greatest lifestyle changes had the best blood pressure results. Millions of Americans can benefit by using these lifestyle changes to control high blood pressure – or prevent it in the first place,” according to Dr. Lawrence J. Appel, professor of medicine at The Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions in Baltimore, and a co-author of the article.

High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease and the chief risk factor for stroke. Even blood pressure slightly above normal increases your risk. About one in four American adults has high blood pressure (hypertension). The risk of developing it increases with age.

Recommended lifestyle steps to prevent or control hypertension are these:

  • Lose weight if overweight
  • Follow a heart-healthy eating plan, which includes reducing salt and other forms of sodium
  • Increase physical activity
  • Limit consumption of alcoholic beverages
  • Quit smoking

The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute has created a special Web page called Your Guide To Lowering High Blood Pressure at www.nhlbi.nih.gov/hbp/index.html. Find out about the heart-healthy DASH diet used by subjects in this study at www.nhlbi.nih.gov/hbp/prevent/h_eating/h_eating.htm.


The Help Spot
by Human Resources Employee Services-Staff Development

Do you know your Customer Service Skills?

Who are your customers?

A. An individual buying an item from the Agency
B. Someone waiting for information from you
C. John Q Public
D. We all are

Answer:
D. We all are! A customer is any individual with whom one must deal with during the normal course of business. A customer could be a fellow co-worker, an employee in another department or unit in TDCJ, a relative of an offender or a vendor to name a few. Customer service is basic human relations – how we get along with other people and how they get along with us. Practicing good customer service skills will aid in making you and the Agency look good, not only to the public, but to other employees as well.

To learn more about how to develop your employees’ customer service skills, contact Human Resources Staff Development Department for scheduling information at www.linda.green@tdcj.state.tx.us.

Changes to employee health, dental plans can be made during summer enrollment period

The Employees Retirement System (ERS) Summer Enrollment for Plan Year 2006 begins July 25 and concludes on August 19. During summer enrollment, employees have the opportunity to make eligible changes to their health or dental plan, enroll in TexFlex reimbursement accounts and change or elect optional coverages for which they are eligible. Summer enrollment changes can be done on the Internet using ERS On-Line or by visiting your local Human Resources representative.

Again this year, ERS is scheduling meetings and fairs throughout the state, which will be attended by vendors and ERS benefit educators to answer questions. Please contact your Human Resources representative to learn about a meeting or fair near you.

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