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Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Assessing your current level of health is an important first step in learning more about your overall health. Once you have identified your health strengths and weaknesses, you will have the necessary information to plan for healthy lifestyle change. Research tells us that healthy people have greater satisfaction with life and healthy employees are more productive on the job. There is no time like the present to begin to learn more about your overall health!
One way to begin is by completing a health risk appraisal (HRA). HRAs are questionnaires that measure your past, current, and family medical history. Reports generated following completion of an HRA provide useful information on positive health care practices and the areas which need some attention. Group and individual reports will provide initial information about changes that you or your organization might need to make. Taking this type of test provides baseline data for later outcomes measurements.
HRAs may be conducted by your health care provider or another outside organization. One of the easiest sources is the internet where a variety of online assessments are available for your use. A few of sources include:
Many healthcare insurers and benefit plans now offer HRAs to employees covered by their insurance plan. Investigating those available options is another route to pursue.
There will be a section within the report you receive which identifies those areas in which you are doing well and the areas in your life that need more attention. You may receive your results in hard copy or via email depending on the type of assessment you completed. You may want to bring those results to your next health care provider visit, or share them with an internal health resource within your company. Your health care provider and/or company health resource may be able to help you obtain assistance in making lifestyle and/or behavioral changes. Looking carefully at those recommendations, and learning more about each area in the "Topics" section of this website, will give you great information with which to start to make healthy lifestyle changes.
Encouraging your employer to formally establish an assessment process within your worksite is a great way to begin addressing the health of the whole work force. Many associations, organizations and vendors exist which can guide you in establishing that type of program and related services. Some of these may be found via the internet such as the National Wellness Institute and the Wellness Councils of America.
Many research studies are underway to help us learn about worksite health. Would you like to find out more about being part of this exciting research? Please visit the following links:
This article is a NetWellness exclusive.
Last Reviewed: Jul 13, 2011
Elizabeth R Click, ND, RN, CLE
Assistant Professor of Nursing
Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing
Case Western Reserve University