May 25, 2006
FIT CITY CHALLENGE WINS GRANT TO CREATE WORKSITE WELLNESS PROGRAM
Charlotte, NC –The Mecklenburg County Health Department’s Fit City Challenge program has been awarded a Fit Community Grant from the North Carolina Health and Wellness Trust.
The grant, effective July 1, 2006 is for $60,000 and will be used to develop a worksite wellness program entitled Work to Wellness. The program will assist employers in creating an environment conducive to healthy eating and physical activity.
The 2005 State of the County Report shows that coronary heart disease, cancer and stroke are the leading causes of death for residents in Mecklenburg County. Studies have shown that changing health behaviors such as maintaining a healthy weight, eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables and engaging in regular physical activity can contribute to the prevention of heart disease, along with some forms of cancer and stroke.
Dianne Thomas, Director of the Fit City Challenge recognizes the key role employers can play in addressing health issues. "Healthcare costs for treating illness and disease associated with unhealthy lifestyles continue to rise," says Thomas. "It makes economic sense to create a work environment that supports and encourages healthy behaviors."
The grant will allow Thomas to hire a Worksite Wellness Coordinator who will meet with worksites to conduct onsite assessments (non-medical) to determine what policies they have in place regarding health eating and physical activity and employee incentives for living healthy lifestyles. For example, do they provide healthy alternatives in their vending machines, do they provide physical activity breaks during the workday, do they provide incentives for participating in the Fit City Challenge or pay for a gym membership and do they prohibit smoking?
These are just a few examples of the many ways a company can encourage their employees to engage in healthier lifestyles. The Coordinator will also assess the physical environment to see if it is conducive for physical activity. They will then make recommendations and refer the worksite to the appropriate resources within the Mecklenburg County Health Department or externally. For more information, please contact Dianne Thomas, Fit City Challenge Director at 704-432-1467 or
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