Biometric Screenings – Effective Monitors, but Don’t Change Complex Behaviors

If a marathon runner wants to improve their time, they must know how fast they ran their last marathon. Similarly, if we want to improve our health, such as lowering our blood glucose, we must know what our blood glucose level is to begin with. With assessment season at Orriant quickly approaching, we want you to understand the why behind these in-person health assessments.

Biometric assessments are short health screenings where several measurements are taken, including: weight, height, age, blood pressure, and a finger prick for blood glucose, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels. It’s important for both you and your health coach to know what your health looks like from the inside, and assessments give us that insight. This allows you to make appropriate, meaningful, and relevant goals that will improve your health.

The CDC reports that, “More than 75% of health care spending is on people with chronic conditions” (2009). These persistent conditions such as heart failure, stroke, hypertension, diabetes, etc. are in most cases, preventable. However, we cannot prevent what we don’t know. The old saying “ignorance is bliss” can be disastrous when applied to our health. Biometric assessments allow us to monitor and detect potential health risks, which then enable us to make improvements in our health to avoid chronic diseases.

Along with being a warning signal, assessments also give us the ability to track progress on a long-term basis. As you continue to get assessments, you will be able to see trends in your biometric scores and reflect on what may have contributed to either an improvement or decline in your health. Maybe you had a particularly stressful year resulting in higher blood pressure and weight than the year before. Knowing this, you can design goals that address the stress and work toward decreasing your blood pressure and weight in the following year.

It is important to note, however, that while biometric assessments are a great way to monitor our health, they do not change complex behaviors. In other words, just knowing you have high cholesterol isn’t necessarily going to change your daily habits. That is why Orriant offers regular health coaching along with yearly biometric assessments. Health coaches provide the accountability and support necessary to make and accomplish health related goals. They can provide suggestions about how to change your behavior based on your assessments. While assessments and health coaching provide the structure to get you where you want to be, the actual change in behavior is ultimately up to you. You are the director of your life.

“The Power of Prevention.” Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 2009.