206075 Worksite Wellness: Building Connections to Healthier Lives

Monday, November 9, 2009: 9:00 AM

Dianne G. Thomas, MBA , Fit City Challenge, Mecklenburg County Health Department, Charlotte, NC
Michael Kennedy, MGA, MPH, CHES , Administrative Core Services, Mecklenburg County Health Department, Charlotte, NC
Cara Crisler, MA , Active Living by Design, UNC School of Public Health, Chapel Hill, NC
Rising healthcare costs are prompting companies to address employee behaviors, often focusing only on individual choices. To enhance these efforts by utilizing an ecological model the health department's Fit City Worksite Wellness program helps management to recognize organizational barriers to implementing positive changes and their responsibility in correcting them. The program assesses the work environment, identifying in-place resources (e.g., walking trails, sidewalks, healthy vending machine options, food and physical activity policies, onsite fitness centers, showers, microwaves, refrigerators) and areas for improvement. The coordinator develops specific recommendations and a customized resource guide, and serves as a liaison with local partners (e.g., parks and recreation, greenway planners, transportation, city bicycling director, city pedestrian planner) to arrange awareness training, programming, equipment installation, such as bike racks, and connectivity opportunities, such as sidewalks. Regular evaluation monitors usage and promotes renewed commitment. This approach serves as a model for worksite wellness programs by providing management with expert guidance and establishing linkages with available community resources in a coordinated, efficient and effective manner. It also helps engender corporate support for other health-enhancing community initiatives (e.g., Master Pedestrian Plan, Greenways, Transportation Action Plan). The Fit City Worksite Wellness program was developed with funds from a Fit Community grant sponsored by the North Carolina Health and Wellness Trust Fund.

Learning Objectives:
Discuss impact built environment and policy has upon worksite in terms of healthy eating and physical activity. List the relevant criteria in assessing worksite from built environment and policy perspective. Identify strategies for implementing environmental and policy change at worksite to improve opportunities for physical activity and healthy eating.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: BSBA from UNC-Chapel Hill and MBA from Queens University; served on City of Charlotte Master Pedestrian Plan and City of Charlotte Master Bicycle Plan; presenter at numerous local and state conferences on subject matter, Current Board Member of Charlotte Chamber of Commerce Health Services Council which focuses on worksite wellness issues
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.