Hopefully your company offers your employees the opportunity to participate in an annual biometric screening (if not, please click here for your own good!). Yearly screenings are one of the most important aspects of a successful workplace wellness program. Results of these screenings can offer a lot of valuable insight to your employees’ overall health and provide them with their key health numbers, including body mass index (BMI), blood pressure, glucose, cholesterol, and triglycerides.
These results can be used to track wellness progress year after year, and help keep employees motivated to making healthier lifestyle choices. If your company has done a biometric screening before, you might have noticed that not every employee was thrilled with their results.
It’s normal for most employees to be a bit nervous about what their screening results will say. No one wants to see their numbers fall into unhealthy ranges! It’s important that your employees understand that a biometric screening is just a snapshot of their health at any given moment. It shows them what their numbers are on the specific day and time of their screening. While the screening can be an excellent indicator of overall health, it doesn’t always paint the whole picture.
With this being said, it’s good for employees to know that their results can be impacted by their health behaviors in the few days leading up to their screening. That’s because some of the health metrics at a biometric screening event are pretty sensitive. They pick up on subtle behaviors your employees engage in.
Fortunately, there are things your employees can do to make sure their screening results are as accurate and as healthy as possible. By paying close attention to their habits leading up to their screening, they’ll be able to display the healthiest and most natural numbers that are closest to their baseline health level.
Share these seven tips with your employees to help them have their healthiest (and most accurate!) biometric screening yet.
How to Prepare for a Biometric Screening
Stay calm and act natural.
It’s important to stay calm and sit still during your screening. Your body’s best health level will be when you are at rest. This is because your body won’t be trying to compensate for anything else you might be doing while trying to get screened. Acting normally is the easiest way to ensure an accurate screening that truly represents your health.
In the days leading up to your screening, go through your usual routine. Eat the things you’d usually eat, exercise as much as you’d usually exercise, and work like you’d usually work. If you act natural, you’re more likely to get accurate results.
Fast (if you can).
Your company may ask you to fast for 9-12 hours before your biometric screening. This is because fasting from food and beverages (besides water or black coffee/tea) is one of the best ways to ensure accurate screening results. For this reason, many screenings are in the morning. So, remember to save your breakfast until after your screening! If you tend to feel extra hungry or lightheaded from skipping breakfast, be sure to schedule your screening appointment as early in the morning as possible so that you can eat right after.
Pay attention to sugar.
Be sure to keep an eye out for extra sugary foods the night before or day of your screening. Consuming too many sugary foods – like candy, fast food, or soda – the night before or the morning of your screening can impact your results. Metrics like blood sugar and cholesterol can be affected directly by the foods you eat. While it’s important to keep up with your regular diet to receive the most accurate results, it’s not a good idea to binge on candy or treats the night before.
Limit the drinks.
Drinking too much alcohol the night before your screening can also mess with your results. As your body tries to recover and purge the alcohol from your system, it’ll be working in ways that aren’t necessarily normal for you. Your blood sugar and blood pressure can start to skyrocket. If you want to indulge in a drink the night before, try to stick with just one or two for best results!
Try not to stress.
Stress impacts your blood pressure. So, try not to schedule your screening appointment after a stressful event. If you’re stressing over a big project while at your screening, or if you walk straight in from a big meeting, you’re likely to have a higher-than-normal blood pressure reading.
Know your meds.
There’s no need to stop taking any prescribed medications before your screening. But it is important to know which medications you’re on, how they interact with one another, and what the potential side effects might be. All of those things can lead to whacky screening results.
Understand your results.
One of the most important parts of your biometric screening experience is to be sure that you understand your results. Depending on your company’s biometric screening vendor, you might get to chat with a healthcare professional and go over what your results mean. It’s important not to skip this step because without understanding what your numbers mean, you won’t know how to improve certain areas of your health. If your company doesn’t offer any health counseling after your screening, don’t be afraid to call your primary doctor to go over your results.
A biometric screening is an excellent peek into the health of your workforce. But it’s just that – a peek. To get the most accurate, healthy screening results possible, your employees should understand how their health behaviors might impact their results. Be sure to share the above tips with your employees before your next biometric screening event!
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Editor's Note: This post was originally published in October 2016 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.
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