LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla., Feb. 15 /PRNewswire/ -- Results of a new study presented today at the Corporate America Health Summit 2000 at the Disney Institute suggest that the boardroom may not be the healthiest place for executives to sit. It shows that many senior executives may be living unhealthy lifestyles, flirting dangerously with heart disease and, consequently, putting their companies at risk. Dr. James Rippe, associate professor of medicine (cardiology) at Tufts University School of Medicine and founder/director of the Rippe Lifestyle Institute and Rippe Health Assessment at Celebration Health, summarized the findings of his study at the summit, which brought together medical officers, human resources executives and benefits managers from some of America's largest companies. It opened Sunday and will conclude Wednesday with a Town Hall Meeting led by former U.S. Surgeon General C. Everett Koop. Dr. Rippe's study, The Rippe Health Assessment Study of Senior Executives, was based on the clinical results of 200 consecutive patients -- nearly three fourths of them Fortune 500 executives -- treated at the Rippe Health Assessment at Celebration Health, a central Florida facility. It showed that an astounding 73 percent of them were not active enough, and nearly 40 percent were obese. According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, the prevalence of obesity among adults has increased from 25 percent to 32 percent in the past 10 years. Among the obese executives, 100 percent have at least one other risk factor for cardiovascular disease, 86 percent have two other risk factors, and 60 percent have at least three other risk factors. Significantly, 55 percent of all heart disease occurs in individuals with at least two risk factors for this condition. The bottom line: senior executives have a disproportionate risk of heart disease, even compared with the population at large, which may be putting their companies' interests in danger as well. "For a CEO or other senior executive, health issues have a serious impact on both personal life and the welfare of the business," says Rippe, who also serves as the summit moderator. "The critical levels of risk factors for heart disease among senior executives affect everyone in the business world, from employees to stockholders. And because risk factors multiply each other in relation to the risk of heart disease, an overweight, inactive senior executive is something that no American company can afford." About the Study The study involved extensive review of clinical data on the executives, who were seen for annual health evaluations. Their average age was 45. The study indicated a high prevalence of other risk factors for heart disease, including inactive lifestyle, elevated waist circumference, elevated cholesterol, elevated blood pressure, elevated glucose or cigarette smoking. More than half of the executives seen for the study left with a new diagnosis of dyslipidemia, hypertension or coronary artery disease -- chronic diseases they had not been aware of before. Obesity and Executive Health Keeping the boardroom healthy carries enormous implications for every corporation in America. In some cases, when the company's image and reputation are closely tied to the CEO, long-term illness or premature death carries not only profound consequences for the executive, but can also be catastrophic to the business. Obesity extends well beyond the executive suite, however, contributing to an estimated 300,000 deaths every year, second only to smoking as a preventable cause of death. More than $100 billion is spent on obesity-related medical expenses and loss of income in the United States each year, not including the $42.6 billion spent annually to shed excess weight. More that 53.6 million work days each year are lost due to illnesses attributable to obesity -- a loss of productivity that costs employers an additional $4.06 billion annually. "Obesity is a serious threat that crosses all industrial classifications and all levels of the organization chart," says Rippe. "If American businesses are to remain healthy in the 21st century, now is the time to preserve and enhance vital human capital at all levels of an organization." These findings suggest that corporate America needs to focus more attention on assisting senior executives in seeking proper medical care and making positive lifestyle decisions, such as becoming more active and better managing their weight in order to reduce the risk of coronary heart disease, the leading cause of premature morbidity and mortality in the United States. About the Corporate America Health Summit 2000 The Disney Institute is presenting the Corporate America Health Summit 2000 in collaboration with the United States Chamber of Commerce and Rippe Health Assessment at Celebration Health. The health summit aims to identify the major health issues threatening today's work force and address their impact on employer's ability to attract and retain healthy employees, who will keep their companies competitive. In addition to Koop and Rippe, summit speakers include Tom Donohue, president, United States Chamber of Commerce, and Dr. Peter F. Wilson, a renowned specialist in cardiovascular risk factors and Director of the Framingham Heart Study. Since opening in 1996, the Disney Institute has become known as a creative community that offers programming for individuals and families looking for a unique way to vacation, as well as business leaders seeking professional development and team building. In 1999, the Disney Institute announced it would host a series of conferences and symposiums to create positive change that will enrich lives by initiating dialogue among a wide range of opinion leaders. The Disney Institute's World & Community Symposium Series that began in November has included a Youth & Peace Symposium with Archbishop Desmond Tutu and continues with Corporate America Health Summit 2000.
SOURCE Rippe Health Assessment at Celebration Health