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Taking Wellness to Work

Sticking with your health and fitness goals is challenging enough when you’re at home and tempted by the lure of a comfortable couch, your favorite television show, and a bag of chips. But even the best of intentions may be hard to maintain during work hours. Vending machines and hours upon hours of sitting at a desk can make it difficult to find ways to make healthy fitness and food choices.

According to the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH), more than 67 percent of Iowa adults are overweight or obese. With Iowans spending more than 40 hours per week on work and work-related tasks, it is important employers and individuals make workplace wellness a priority. While worksite wellness programs help employees become fit, they also are beneficial to business owners. Worksite wellness programs have been shown to:

potentially decrease healthcare costs – $3 of every $4 healthcare dollars is spend in the treatment of chronic disease
improve employee morale
increase productivity and decrease absenteeism
recruit and retain a healthier workforce
maintain competitiveness in the marketplace
According to the 2010 Employer Benefits Study conducted by David P. Lind and Associates, health insurance premiums are increasing at an average rate of 13 percent across all Iowa employers. With roughly 91,000 small businesses in Iowa, there are potentially great financial and fitness benefits of worksite wellness programs for both employers and employees.

Worksite wellness does not have to be time consuming or expensive. Try introducing a little friendly team-based competition – register for Live Healthy Iowa at www.livehealthyiowa.org. Employers can also refer to the Healthy Iowa Worksites toolkit at www.idph.state.ia.us/iowansfitforlife/common/pdf/healthy_worksites_toolkit.pdf.|

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