By Julie Knaack, MPH, RD, LDN – Health Promotion Manager at NC Prevention Partners
Have you ever noticed that you have to pay 20 cents extra to get a whole grain bun at Chick Fil-A®? Or found it difficult to locate the stairwell when visiting your dentist on the 3rd floor? One of the many reasons our country is struggling with skyrocketing rates of obesity, hypertension and diabetes is that it has become increasingly difficult to access foods and beverages that are healthy and affordable. Moreover, modern convenience and new technology are phasing out many routine forms of physical activity. And, while it is getting better, tobacco use continues to take thousands of lives every year. For 15 years, NC Prevention Partners has worked to improve the nutrition, physical activity and tobacco environments in schools, workplaces, and communities. Our goal? To make the healthy choice the easy choice.
This is why we created WorkHealthy AmericaSM to help employers evaluate whether their policies, benefits, and environment support good health. More than 500 organizations nationally are using the tool to transform their culture of wellness and find ways to engage every employee in healthy behaviors. One of the benefits of using WorkHealthy AmericaSM is being connected to a select group of businesses and organizations that provide solutions to workplace wellness problems. We formally select and recognize these partners as Gold Standard Vendors because they provide services and programs that are supported by science and proven effective. And, they help our users reach our highest level of recognition – a Gold Apple (for nutrition), Gold Star (for tobacco), or Gold Medal (for physical activity).
It should come as no surprise that when we launched our Gold Standard Vendor program last July, Eat Smart, Move More, Weigh Less was our first vendor. Their online weight management program offers employers an inexpensive and convenient way to engage their employees in proven weight management strategies. Our staff members have joined the online sessions and experienced the personal and professional approach that their instructors take with participants. It has been an easy conversation to introduce Eat Smart, Move More, Weigh Less to our WorkHealthy AmericaSM organizations – their employees gain access to a high quality weight management program and the organization moves forward in shaping a strong culture of wellness.