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About the Wellness DivisionThe Cape May County Wellness Division is dedicated to promoting healthy lifestyle choices for all Cape May County employees. Through a collaborative approach to health education, promotion, and facilitation of present services offered to our community; we are committed to providing opportunities that support growth in the multiple dimensions of health: physical, emotional, social, and environmental. The goals of the Wellness Division are to:
- Offer programs and services emphasizing awareness, prevention, and positive health behavior change,
- Provide current and accurate information on personal and community health issues
- Foster a campus environment (with outreach to satellite divisions) supportive of a healthy lifestyle, and
- Provide knowledge and skills to improve and maintain health that may enhance personal and/or work performance.
Why do we have a Wellness Program?Identifying the need for worksite wellness programs is a fairly simple task. We as Americans are a very unhealthy group of people. Consider that the leading causes of death are usually listed as heart attack, stroke, cancer, etc. However, the leading “actual” causes of death in the United States are risk factors that can be modified.
According to an article in the March 10, 2004 edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association, smoking is still the leading actual cause of death, killing 435,000 Americans in 2000, up from 400,000 in 1990. However, poor diet and physical inactivity are a close second. Predicted to replace smoking as the leading actual cause of death in the near future, these two chronic disease risk factors accounted for 400,000 deaths in 2000, up from 300,000 in 1990. Being overweight or obese can greatly increase the chances of contracting heart disease, stroke, many types of cancer, diabetes, gall bladder disorders and many other ailments. The reasons why chronic diseases and obesity flourish in the U.S. are many:
- Lack of time in a fast-paced society coupled with growing numbers of fast-food outlets and restaurants, making it convenient to eat out.
- Restaurants and fast-food outlets serving extremely large portions of food with these foods being high in fat, saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, calories and sodium while relatively low in fiber and nutrients necessary for health.
- Vending machines, snack bars and cafeterias with few, if any, healthy choices.
- Increased inactivity due to modern labor-saving devices, computers, video/DVD games, security concerns, lack of sidewalks, walking trails and bike paths.
- Using tobacco for smoking, chewing, dipping, etc.
People must live healthier lifestyles, but they need help. Communities, schools, worksites, medical centers and government need to work together to establish environments and create policies that eliminate the barriers to, and increase the opportunities for, people to live healthy.
What are the benefits of worksite Wellness Programs?There are numerous benefits of worksite wellness programs. In fact there are more than 200 scientific studies indicating the positive return-on-investment for worksite wellness programs.
That said, this listing is not extensive, but will note some of the widely accepted benefits of worksite wellness programs.
Worksites are crucial to improving the health of their workers. Most adults spend more of their waking hours at work than anywhere else, making it a prime venue for promoting healthful habits.
The worksite organizational culture and environment are powerful influences on behavior and this needs to be put to use as a means of assisting employees to adopt a healthier lifestyle. Benefits of worksite wellness programs for employees include:
- Weight reduction
- Improved physical fitness
- Increased stamina
- Lower levels of stress
- Increased well-being, self-image and self-esteem
- Enhanced recruitment and retention of healthy employees
- Reduced healthcare costs
- Decreased rates of illness and injuries
- Reduced employee absenteeism
- Improved employee relations and morale
- Increased productivity
- Reduced healthcare costs by 20 to 55 percent
- Reduced short-term sick leave by six to 32 percent
- Increased productivity by two to 52 percent
Source: Wellness Proposals.com