About Wellness Corporate Solutions

Friday, May 30, 2008

Weekly Wellness Roundup: Smoking, ADHD

Two newspaper articles published this week--one on quitting smoking, the other on adult ADHD in the workplace should be in the files of every wellness professional.

1. Smoking and social networks Social networks (the real-life kind, not the online variety like Facebook) have a profound effect on people's ability to quit smoking--and their willingness to try. This smoking study has huge implications about the power of group quitting programs, family support and the benefit of peer activity.

Among the findings (quoted from a blog entry on the smoking/social group study on HealthCentral.com):
  • Smoking cessation by a spouse decreased a person's chances of smoking by 67 percent
  • Cessation by a sibling decreased chances by 25 percent
  • By a friend, 36 percent
  • Among colleagues in small firms, 34 percent
  • Friends with more education influenced one another more than those with less education.
  • These effects were not seen among neighbors in the immediate geographic area
2. ADHD in the Workplace A fascinating--and scary--study published this week showed that people with ADHD lose about 3 weeks of work per year in increased absence and lost productivity.

One of the study's authors, Ronald Kessler said: "So given that employers are increasingly thinking about health care costs in terms of investment opportunities, we think it's useful to point out that it's probably a very smart and profitable business move for employers to screen their workers for ADHD and get them into treatment."

That's hugely controversial. An ADHD screen--which is based on behavioral, not measurable characteristics like high blood lipids--seems different in kind from cholesterol screening. It's worth treading very carefully.

Certainly a pre-employment screening is out of the question for legal and ethical reasons. But offering an optional, confidential ADHD screen for current employees who choose it may be useful. Combined with education of the entire workforce about ADHD that could help people understand whether it may affect them, this could be a constructive employer response.

Well, there you have it: Two important articles to end the week. Enjoy your weekend!

In good health,


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