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Glossary


Definitions taken from the National Institutes of Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Mayo Clinic

Absenteeism: a habitual pattern of absence from work.

Body Mass Index (BMI): a measure of body weight relative to height. BMI can be used to assess whether people are at a healthy weight, overweight or obese. BMI is determined by dividing a person’s body weight in kilograms by their height in meters squared.

Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS): health data collected by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from all 50 states.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): an agency of the federal Department of Health and Human Services. The CDC develops disease prevention and control, environmental health and health promotion and educational activities designed to improve the health of people of the United States.

Diabetes: a disease that occurs when the body is not able to use blood glucose (sugar). Blood sugar levels are controlled by insulin, a hormone in the body that helps move glucose from the blood to muscles and other tissues. Diabetes occurs when the pancreas does not make enough insulin or the body does not respond to the insulin that is made.

Type 1 — a life-long condition in which the pancreas stops making insulin. Without insulin, the body cannot use glucose for energy. To treat the disease, a person must inject insulin, follow a diet plan, exercise daily and test blood sugar several times a day. Type 1 diabetes usually begins before the age of 30.

Type 2 — also known as “adult-onset diabetes,” type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes. About 90 to 95 percent of people who have diabetes have type 2 diabetes. People with type 2 diabetes produce insulin, but either do not make enough insulin or do not use the insulin they make. Most people who have this type of diabetes are overweight. Therefore, people with type 2 diabetes may be able to control their condition by losing weight through diet and exercise. They may also need to inject insulin or take medicine while following a healthy program of diet and exercise. Although type 2 diabetes commonly occurs in adults, an increasing number of children and adolescents who are overweight are also developing type 2 diabetes.

Disease management: a process that reduces health care costs and improves the quality of life enjoyed by individuals with chronic disease conditions, by minimizing the symptoms of the disease.

Health promotion: the promotion of healthy ideas and concepts to motivate individuals to adopt healthy behaviors.

Health Risk Appraisal (HRA): a tool used to determine a person’s risk of future health problems.

Incidence: the number of new cases of a disease diagnosed each year.

Obese: having a high amount of body fat; having a BMI of 30 or higher.

Overweight: being too heavy for one’s height; having a BMI between 25 and 29.

Normal weight: a BMI between 18.5 and 24.9.

Presenteeism: decreased productivity from employees at work. Obesity and obesity-related illnesses have a negative effect on work functions such as performing certain tasks more slowly, repeating tasks or making mistakes. Many tasks that require physical activity cannot be accomplished because of illness or pain.

Prevalence: percentage of new and old cases of a disease existing in a population at a given time.

Risk factors: traits or habits that make a person more likely to develop disease. Some risk factors can be controlled (weight or eating habits), while others (age and gender) cannot.

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