The days are getting shorter and flu season is just around the corner. And if your workplace is among the 90% of companies that offer a corporate wellness program, it’s likely you’ve been seeing flyers, emails, and other internal messages about upcoming biometric health screenings.
What Exactly is a Biometric Health Screening?
Put simply, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a biometric screening is a general health check that measures physical characteristics, such as height, weight, blood pressure, and more. Companies can use the data collected to benchmark and evaluate changes in employee health over time. Typically, a trained medical clinician will check your blood pressure, calculate your body mass index (BMI), and measure your blood cholesterol levels. Those three key measurements can tell you a lot about your health.
Blood pressure. Blood pressure is a measurement of the force acting upon the walls of your arteries. The measurement is taken in two numbers: systolic blood pressure / diastolic blood pressure, and it can be divided into five ranges, which will indicate whether yours is low, normal, or high—also called hypertension, which is when the force of blood is too heavy against your artery walls. (Learn more: What’s the Difference Between Resting Heart Rate and Blood Pressure?)
Body mass index (BMI). BMI is measure of body fat that’s calculated by dividing your weight (in kilograms) by the square of your height (in meters). For adults 20 years old and older, that number is then categorized into a weight status: underweight (below 18.5), normal or healthy weight (18.5 to 24.9), overweight (25.0 to 29.9), and obese (30.0 and above). When taken into account with additional biometric measurements, your BMI can be a good indicator of your general health.
Blood cholesterol levels. Blood cholesterol is comprised of triglycerides, LDL, and HDL, and, according to the American Heart Association, keeping them in balance is crucial for preventing cardiovascular disorders, such as heart disease and stroke. Your blood cholesterol test results will show your total cholesterol, and a breakdown of your LDL and HDL levels, which a health professional can take into account when determining your risk of heart disease.
Why Should You Opt In to a Biometric Health Screening?
If your company offers biometric screenings, chances are, they’re free. So not only will you have the opportunity to learn more about your health at no cost to you, you won’t have to take time off or wait in a doctor’s office.
Your biometric data can signal whether or not your are at risk for a number of chronic conditions, including diabetes, heart disease, and obesity, as well as potentially deadly cardiovascular events, like heart attack and stroke. And by participating in this kind of assessment, you can learn tips to create healthy habits to better manage your health.
If your company doesn’t provide biometric health screenings, talk to your doctor about monitoring your data during annual physicals, or see if your local drugstore offers the service. You may also want to consider reaching out to your human resources department to see if they are willing to hold a health assessment at your workplace.
Looking to step it up? Learn how Fitbit Health Solutions can help your company develop a successful wellness program, boost employee health and happiness, and improve the bottom line.
This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for medical diagnosis or treatment. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or condition. Always check with your doctor before changing your diet, altering your sleep habits, taking supplements, or starting a new fitness routine.