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From the President: Get Healthy UNH

October 6, 2010

A message from President Mark Huddleston:

Health care spending has doubled during the last 10 years and has moved ahead of retirement benefits as the single largest benefit program at UNH. In 2010, UNH will spend more than $40 million on health care benefits. That isn’t sustainable and together we can – and must -- do something about it. Join me in kicking off the second year of Healthy UNH by getting a flu shot and signing up to participate in the Healthy Returns program. This is an important initiative and I ask every supervisor to make it possible for any and every faculty and staff member to participate. If we all work together we can improve the overall health of our campus community while at the same time decreasing healthcare costs.

Last year more than 20 percent of faculty and staff participated in Healthy Returns – a number that continues to grow every year. But we can do more, and we must. This program could change your life. Last year 2,694 pounds were collectively lost, with one employee alone losing 52 pounds. Out of the 40 people who identified as smokers in the spring session, 13 quit. According to the American Cancer Society, quitting smoking has major health benefits that start right away and at the same time can directly affect healthcare costs. Between 2000 and 2004, smoking caused more than $193 billion in annual health-related costs in the US, including smoking-attributable medical costs, and productivity losses.

This is important. Healthy Returns is designed to give you the information you need to make positive changes and create realistic health goals. You will be screened for blood pressure, height and weight, BMI (body mass index), cholesterol, glucose and tobacco use. Based on your results, you and a clinical consultant will set attainable goals. There are rewards – beyond improved health -- involved. Take a minute right now to learn more and sign up for a session on one of the four available dates at http://www.usnh.edu/hr/. While you’re at it, mark your calendar to get a flu shot; details are at http://www.unh.edu/hr/pdfs/seasonal-flu-clinics-in-October-2010.pdf. See you there!

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