As employer-sponsored wellness programs have grown in popularity, some employers offer biometric screenings to help employees manage their health.
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What Is a Biometric Screening?
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines a biometric screening as a measurement of physical attributes — height, weight, blood pressure, and more — that can be taken at a worksite and used for a workplace health assessment.
“Growing up we all were taught to learn height and weight as basic measurements,” said Kevin M. Wong, MD, of Westmoreland Family Medicine-UPMC.
“By adding these other critical measurements (weight, blood pressure, glucose, cholesterol) and understanding the importance of family history rolled into this mix of numbers, a picture of one’s health potential unfolds,” he said.
These metrics help benchmark and evaluate changes in employee health over time. Biometric screenings are now also used outside of the workplace by insurance companies and individuals alike.
Common biometric screening test measurements include:
- Body mass index (BMI)
- Blood pressure
- Blood cholesterol
- Blood glucose
- Aerobic fitness
RELATED: What Your Body Shape Says About Your Health
Why Have a Biometric Screening?
The purpose behind a biometric screening is to help create a baseline for your current health. Companies might request these screenings to help them create health management programs or structure insurance benefit plans.
- Insurance companies might request these screenings to identify possible health risks or get a baseline for an age group or demographic
- Athletic trainers and nutritionists, meanwhile, might offer screenings to gauge the health of their clients.
“Employers and insurers realize the cost saving of reducing health risk, and that’s why they offer incentives to get these basic measurements, hoping an individual can reduce their risk of future illness,” said Dr. Wong.
Find a UPMC primary care physician. Call 1-855-676-UPMCPCP (8762) or visit UPMC Find a Doctor. For more information, visit the UPMC Primary Care website.
How to Get a Biometric Screening
There are three main ways to have a biometric screening:
- Your primary doctor can perform the biometric screening
- Your employer may request that you have a biometric screening and arrange for you to meet with a health care professional
- You can order a biometric screening kit and perform the test at home
“By identifying some of these risk factors early, we can hopefully help modify a person’s risk by lifestyle changes,” Dr. Wong said.
Stay in tune with your health. Arrange for a biometric screening with your doctor and visit the UPMC Primary Care website.
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