Did you know? Jump IN for Healthy Kids is fortunate and honored to be one of the 50 organizations competing for the $250,000 Healthiest Cities and Counties Challenge. The Challenge is a partnership between the Aetna Foundation, the American Public Health Association and the National Association of Counties. The partnership empowers small to mid-size U.S. cities and counties to create a positive health impact. 50 communities were selected by competitive process to be part of the Challenge, and Jump IN's community demonstration project in Greater Lawrence and the Far Eastside (GLFE) was selected as one of the 50. Jump IN's work and the work of our partners is broad and deep, and we've listed nearly everything below that we're up to in GLFE, so it's a bit of a long read, but we really wanted to tell you about our work. It's a lot, and there are wonderful partners and grassroots efforts that are helping improve the health of residents every day. If we are fortunate enough to win the Challenge, the prize money will go directly into the GLFE community to continue and expand our work.
Community engagement is an important part of a comprehensive workplace wellness program. Employers gain many advantages by engaging in community partnerships, but how do you choose effective partners for your community engagement efforts?
Effective community wellness partnerships require strategic planning and ongoing communication. You want to find a partner(s) whose interest in and commitment to improving wellness is well aligned with yours.
Do the rewards you give your employees support their health goals or sabotage them?
Pizza parties, doughnut breakfasts, and birthday cakes are easy to plan and execute, but they contradict your goal to help employees adopt healthier habits. So what else can you do?
Whether you want to reward your team for achieving a goal, celebrate a holiday together, or specifically incentivize them to participate in wellness initiatives, you can opt for healthy rewards that support wellness goals and are meaningful and valuable to employees.
Everybody needs at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity—enough to feel your heart pumping and increased breathing—every day. Luckily, we don't need to get all 60 minutes at once.
Healthy workplaces stock a fitness area or activity room for employees to use during the workday. The return on investment in employees' physical activity is significant—improvements in employee health as well as improvements in productivity, absenteeism, and morale.
Four in ten kids in central Indiana are at an unhealthy weight. That's nearly a quarter million kids, or enough to fill Lucas Oil Stadium three times.
Because of their weight, these kids are at significantly higher risk for life threatening conditions including heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.
How did we get here?
The causes of the obesity epidemic are numerous and complex. Food has become highly processed, calorie dense, and “super-sized.” Many families lack access to affordable, healthy food. Children have fewer opportunities to play and be active, as recess and physical education classes have been reduced or cut entirely in schools. Too many kids spend too much time sitting in front of computer screens, tablets, or smart phones. Many of them live in neighborhoods that lack safe places to play.
As a result, simply promoting public awareness and “personal responsibility” will not solve this crisis. There are no simple or one-size-fits-all solutions.
A wellness program that strives to keep employees healthy is a strategic investment. To curb rising healthcare costs, many employers are advancing workplace health programs to:
- make improvements in the worksite environment,
- help employees adopt healthier lifestyles and,
- ultimately, lower the incidence of costly chronic diseases.
One of the first important steps in creating your employee wellness program is assessment of the work environment. What are your employee needs and preferences? What are your business goals and objectives? Where do nutrition and physical activity fit into the picture? What kind of timeline might be reasonable to accomplish this work?
There are a variety of assessment tools you can use. Here are four for you to consider:
Many local restaurants offer convenient and affordable delivery options for "catering" a lunch event at the office. If your workplace relies on this type of food service, the following tips can help everyone eat healthier.
Choose buffet style over boxed lunches
Boxed lunches typically include a sandwich, chips, dessert, and a piece of fruit. Limiting selection in this way often means that individuals eat larger portions than they'd choose for themselves. Plus, colleagues that don't like the featured fruit get no fruit at all.
Buffet style, on the other hand, usually offers enough variety for everyone to find something healthy they like to eat and enables colleagues to control their own portion sizes.
Given the number of hours that full-time employees spend in the workplace, it isn't hard to imagine that habits established or reinforced at the office spill over into the family home.
Employers can play a vital role in promoting healthy habits for their employees and employees' families. The returns on investment are real—less absenteeism, increased employee productivity, and reduced health care costs, to name a few.
The key is to use your existing communications tools and other simple strategies to educate and motivate employees about wellness, provide access to helpful resources, and create a workplace culture that values healthy living. Here are three ways to share information and promote healthy choices:
Local spotlight: United Way of Central Indiana employee inspires, supports co-workers
Can a single individual impact company culture enough to trigger healthier habits in the workplace? Jeffrey Wilson, administrative assistant at United Way of Central Indiana (UWCI), did.
If you schedule a meeting with Jeffrey, he'll likely arrive with a simple gift for you: a bottle of water and a banana, for instance. His passion for serving others—and his commitment to UWCI's mission to help others learn more, earn more, and live safe and healthy lives—spills over into everything he does.
Four years ago, Jeffrey made a decision to improve his own health by walking daily from United Way’s office—then located near 38th and Meridian— to Butler University and back. He lost more than 25 pounds.