The Limitations of a HRA (Health Risk Assessment)

The typical HRA involves taking a persons BMI (Body Mass Index), their cholesterol, blood pressure and blood glucose, while these are all valid tests they fall within the world of medical indoctrination.
I want to highlight that I am not against HRA’s as I think it can identify very real dangers in terms of someone’s health.

However, let’s consider cholesterol to highlight some of the limitations of a typical HRA.
The guidelines for healthy total blood lipids commonly known as total blood cholesterol levels have been gradually decreasing since the 1940’s when the drug companies boosted by their massive potential growth and ever increasing profits got involved in the medical schools, medical journals and media in a big way.
Consider that in 2014 the top 5 drug companies earned 56.1 BILLION dollars in net profit, that’s huge, imagine what companies earning that amount of money will do to stay competitive!

That’s $56,100,000,000 (profit, not revenue)

There are many points I would like to go over for this article but this is one of many that actually shows how important having enough cholesterol in the body:

After the age of fifty, low cholesterol is clearly associated with an increased risk of dying from a variety of causes. A study of old women indicated that a cholesterol level of 270 mg. per 100 ml. was associated with the best longevity (Forette, et al., 1989). “Mortality was lowest at serum cholesterol 7.0 mmol/l [=270.6 mg%], 5.2 times higher than the minimum at serum cholesterol 4.0 mmol/l, and only 1.8 times higher when cholesterol concentration was 8.8 mmol/l. This relation held true irrespective of age, even when blood pressure, body weight, history of myocardial infarction, creatinine clearance, and plasma proteins were taken into account.”

The medical establishments guide for healthy cholesterol is below 200 mg. per 100 ml, in fact 200 mg/ml is seen as dangerous.

This goes to show that cholesterol is one of the bodies most powerful antioxidants which explains why it is one of the bodies first line defense systems.

Anyway moving on, maybe it’s not that the tests that form a HRA are not valid, maybe it’s the follow-up advice that needs bringing into the 21st century.

I think a biometric screening +/ a HRA is a great way to see if your corporate wellness program is making a real impact in your teams lives but the advice needs to be advice that actually helps people and does not make them die faster, getting more and more ill, rather it should be advice that helps them feel better and better every day.
I believe a HRA is nothing without a well devised biometric screening, basically a qualitative questionnaire that is given to all participants with questions such as:

Question 1:
How often in a 7 day period, on average do you eat white table salt? (not sea salt)
A) = Zero times a week?
B) = 1 to 4 times a week?
C) = 4 to 8 times a week?
D) = More than 8 times a week?

There are various questions that are related to some of the most common mistakes people make, not only the most common but the most important mistakes that the general population make. Determining these very dangerous mistakes that people make is the most important thing someone can do to start to improve their health.

This is where one of the 6 pillars we look for when setting up a successful corporate wellness program– having the best partners, comes in. Without the best partners, the questions that are asked might be totally useless or at best not very useful. In fact they might give the team member a faulty impression of what good health is. For example if one of the questions is how many times do you eat wholemeal grains, in this context its thought to be healthy which is based on the faulty food pyramid model devised by the FDA (the US Food and Drug Administration).

It is clearly obvious by looking at the people who eat too many grains and by the countless studies that have been done that gluten is a dangerous substance for the estimated 78% of people who are intolerant to it. It is now evidenced that gluten does damage in the body for up to 6 weeks after being ingested when as little as 0.52 grams is eaten.

In summary; if you are interested in checking the health status of your employees, then please tread carefully, it’s easy to be tripped up by a great salesperson who doesn’t have the experience and knowledge to back it up.
If you want the best biometric screening on offer in the UAE and/or a comprehensive HRA then please get in touch for a free consultation.

Kind Regards,
Tim Garrett,
Corporate Wellness Co
“Corporate Wellness Programs That Work”
t: 052 699 3955

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