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Published: December, 2006; Vol 3, Num 7

Tools for Health Tip Sheets
Address Tobacco, Diet, Fitness, Stress

Fifteen Tools for Health tip sheets in Spanish and English – by-products of a multi-year collaboration of the LHSFNA and the Dana Farber Cancer Institute (DFCI) – are now available online for downloading and printing.

Developed in conjunction with DFCI’s investigation of effective means to advance lifestyle changes in the broad American workforce, the colorful tip sheets address quitting tobacco, improving diet, strengthening fitness and lowering stress. A last sheet provides a list of health resources for Laborers.

The tip sheets were written and designed by professionals at the DFCI who wanted to see if information tailored to LIUNA members and delivered in conjunction with supportive telephone counseling would improve chances that Laborers would quit smoking and add more fruits and vegetables to their diets. In general, the study demonstrated the effectiveness of such intervention. On the smoking front, 19 percent of the intervention group had quit smoking within six months, compared to eight percent in the control group. On the dietary front, the intervention group increased its fruit and vegetable consumption by one and a half servings more per day than the control group.

Data show that roughly 40 percent of Laborers smoke, compared to 23 percent of the general adult population. Moreover, tobacco smoke is more caustic for Laborers because they also work around other hazardous workplace chemicals and materials, such as silica. Cancer rates are higher where tobacco and other hazards are combined.

Also, a survey conducted prior to the Tools for Health intervention showed that almost two out of every three Laborers ate less than one fruit and one vegetable serving a day. This is substantially below the five daily servings recommended by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Pyramid and indicates that the diets of many Laborers do not include adequate amounts of vitamins and minerals essential to long-term good health. Also, the lack of fruits and vegetables may indicate an over-reliance on carbohydrates, proteins and fats – important parts of a balanced diet that will nevertheless contribute to weight gain if consumed in excess.

The tip sheets are available in PDF format on the LHSFNA’s Health Promotion Division webpages and may be of use in any setting in which Laborers discuss or consider lifestyle changes.