Family History, Healthy Lifestyle and Health Equity

Tim Arnold speaking at the 2017 Midlands Heartwalk
Tim Arnold speaking at the 2017 Midlands Heartwalk

A year ago, I received results from my annual physical that were a little concerning...well, more than concerning.

You see, my family has a long history of heart disease. Both of my parents have heart disease. My grandmother and her siblings died from heart disease or stroke. So, when I received abnormal lab results from my physician, I knew I needed to make a change.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, every 34 seconds an American loses their life to heart disease. It is the leading cause of death since 1950.

To feel more confident about my health and encourage others to live healthy lifestyles too, here are some steps I’ve taken.

Exercise for a healthy heart: To combat those concerning numbers, my first step was to step up and recommit to my weekly exercise routine.  For those not currently exercising, walking is a great way to get started and one of my favorite go-to activities to combat heart disease. 

Diet your way to a healthy heart: Exercise alone isn’t enough. A change in diet made a difference for me. I’m a southerner at heart and fried foods were a part of my diet. I have made the choice to swap fried chicken for leafy greens with grilled chicken. 

Decisions make a difference in heart health: Eating out with my family is a great pastime. It allows us to connect over food. When we consider restaurants, they know I love steak. But since my lab results, we now swap the steakhouse for a restaurant that specializes in seafood. 

An ‘A-HA’ moment for a healthy heart: My family history and passion for heart health has motivated me to learn more and to get involved. I have been active with the American Heart Association (AHA) for over 10 years. The education they provide on heart disease, heart attack and strokes can help save lives. Now, I am a member of the American Heart Association Southeast Regional Board. In the past, I served as chair of the AHA Heart Ball where we focused on the ‘heart’ of our community, driving change, and improving behaviors that help people live longer, healthier lives.

Health equity for all: One of the many things I love about working at Colonial Life is that we also support stronger, healthier communities. This includes work with the AHA as they ramp up efforts to extend health equity through education in underserved communities. In addition to charitable funding and employee volunteerism, we direct resources to action-oriented health and wellbeing programs which serve those who are disproportionately at risk to adverse health outcomes.

Invest in community: In addition to Colonial Life’s work with AHA, we provide funding for nutritious foods – like fresh fruits and vegetables – to help individuals prevent and manage chronic diseases. Our employees deliver meals to seniors and volunteer at local food pantries.

Heart health is a way of life. The more we know, the more opportunity there is to reduce heart disease and help educate generations to come.  

About the author

Tim Arnold

Executive Vice President, Voluntary Benefits and President, Colonial Life

Tim Arnold was named executive vice president, voluntary benefits and president, Colonial Life in February 2020, responsible for shaping an enterprise-wide approach to voluntary benefits while continuing to lead Colonial Life.

Arnold previously served as executive vice president, president and chief executive officer, Colonial Life from January 2015 and, before that, as executive vice president, president, Colonial Life from July 14. Prior to that, he served as the Company’s senior vice president, Sales and Marketing, Colonial Life from August 2012 and, before that, as senior vice president, chief operations officer, Colonial Life from July 2011. Arnold joined Colonial Life in July 2011, following a 27-year career with Unum. During his career with Unum, he held leadership positions in Underwriting, Corporate Planning, Client Services, National Accounts Sales, and Benefits and served in leadership roles in the Chattanooga, Tennessee; Worcester, Massachusetts; and Portland, Maine, offices.

Arnold serves on the boards of the South Carolina Center for Fathers and Families, the S.C. Chamber of Commerce and the S.C. Junior Golf Foundation. He is a past chair of the Unum United Way campaign in Portland and served on the Unum United Way campaign board in Chattanooga. He also served on the boards of The First Tee of Chattanooga, First Things First, the Council for Alcohol and Drug Abuse Services Inc. and Girls Incorporated in Chattanooga.

Arnold earned a bachelor’s degree in management and a master’s in business administration degree in finance from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. He holds the professional designations of Associate, Life and Health Claims (ALHC) and Fellow, Life Management Institute (FLMI).