24-Hour Cheat Sheet to Ace Your Employer Health Risk Assessment (HRA)

The thought of facing a health risk assessment is unnerving for many. “What if I eat the wrong thing and throw my numbers off? What if my health care costs rise based on results? What if they uncover something I just don’t want to hear about?”

There are steps you can take to assure the best results for your next HRA. Consider these tips for the day before your assessment and the many days after.

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Day before assessment

  • Do some light exercise/activity—Don’t sit all day long.
  • Eat healthfully—Consider the following meal options:
    • Plain oatmeal with cinnamon, flaxseeds, apples and nuts
    • Spinach salad with beets, onions, avocados and fish (with olive oil and vinegar).
  • Avoid tobacco, alcohol, sodium, saturated fats, sugars and processed foods (coffee is fine).

Day of assessment

  • Don’t eat or drink anything other than water.
  • Wear lightweight clothing (and stand tall for your height measurement to improve your body mass index (BMI) ratio).
  • Do a meditation or breathing exercise (and relax with confidence to ace your tests).

While these strategies can help, the reality is you’re not going to be able to truly change your biology in 24 hours. The good news is many of these healthy tips work just as well for the 24 hours AFTER your test—and even better when used throughout your long, healthy life!

[Related: Opening an Employee Health Clinic]

 Here are some considerations for each common biometric test:

  • Blood Pressure – Relax, meditate and breathe. Drink plenty of water. Hibiscus tea. Eat beets. Exercise. Limit coffee, sodium and tobacco.
  • Blood Glucose – Cinnamon, leafy greens, garlic/onions, avocados, nuts, vinegar and fibrous foods. Exercise. Limit processed and sugary foods.
  • Total Cholesterol – Flaxseeds/fish oil. Oatmeal and apples. Exercise. Limit alcohol and saturated fats.
    • HDL Cholesterol – Flaxseeds/fish oil.
    • Triglycerides – Avoid alcohol and saturated fats.
    • LDL Cholesterol – Oatmeal and apples.
  • Body Mass Index/Waist Circumference – Stand tall and wear lightweight clothes. Eat healthfully and exercise.

Good luck testing! And remember, it’s best to know your numbers, even if they aren’t all where you (or your doctor) would like them to be. An HRA provides a helpful snapshot of your overall health.

Neil Mrkvicka
Neil Mrkvicka
Senior Research Analyst at the International Foundation

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