Jackson County is Living Smarter


living_smarter

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 8, 2019

The health and wellness of County associates continued to be a top priority for Jackson County in 2018.

To help get their health on the right track the county once again held its annual wellness screenings. According to Wellness Coordinator Jill Miller, the screenings ensure that associates are aware of their current health status. It can also provide early detection of risk factors and a personalized support plan.

“Aggregate information from these screenings revealed, though we have showed improvement in some areas, we still have opportunities for improvement in our overall health, in particular weight management,” she said.

Associates who completed their wellness screening were given vouchers to purchase an activity tracker through The Wellness Outlet. Associates could then sign up and link their devices to the Motion Connected wellness portal and participate in challenges with a chance to win cash prizes. There were eight different challenges with 40 winners from May through December.

“I really like the wellness portal,” Miller said. “It was a great avenue to keep them engaged with the tracker, their steps and their wellness. Plus I like giving out incentives.”

The Living Smarter Wellness Program continued the Weight Watchers at Work Program in 2018 providing a 50 percent subsidy for those who joined at the downtown courthouse. Associates at other locations were given a 50 percent subsidy with local meeting vouchers or on-line access code.

“We wanted to partner with Weight Watchers because of their long history of positive results. Many of our associates have achieved great results and have successfully recruited their peers,” Miller said. Since May of 2016 associates have lost nearly 2,100 pounds in the At Work program.

In conjunction with Global Employee Health and Fitness Month, a six week series of wellness activities was held throughout the county to encourage and celebrate the health of associates. Activities included chair massages, cooking demos and nutritional seminars.

Functional Interval Training (F.I.T.) sessions were held on-site at the Jackson County Courthouse twice a week during May and September. The short sessions of cardio and strength exercises were designed to get associates up and moving talking and interested in exercise, increase productivity, provide camaraderie, and help build a company culture of wellness.

The mobile mammography bus visited both the Kansas City and Independence courthouses for the second year. “We had more than 35 associates take advantage of this potentially life-saving on-site screening. I had a lot of positive feedback on this service, including that it was fast and convenient,” she said.

Blue Cross Blue Shield offered on-site face-to-face coaching to members. The sessions were designed to offer personal assistance to help develop a customized wellness plan. Free on-site flu shots were again offered at multiple locations throughout the county.

A new healthier menu was unveiled at the reopened Detention Center Cafeteria. New items were based on feedback, including the option for a grab and go sack.

Along with continuing all of the successful programs from last year Miller plans to establish a Wellness Reimbursement Program. The program will provide a pre-determined amount of funds for eligible associates to utilize towards a wellness initiative that is personal or beneficial to the associate.

“The goal is to allow associates to pursue the wellness activities or items that fit their needs and lifestyle,” she said.

The County will also be pursuing additional on-site wellness opportunities, including; smoking cessation programs and incentives, prevention and management of chronic conditions, financial wellness and education and social opportunities such as kindness, philanthropic and volunteer.

“We want to facilitate and encourage opportunities that ensure our associates are as happy and healthy as possible in all aspects of wellness,” she said.

Tips to help stay healthy in the workplace in the New Year:

Stretch and move! Stand up, walk around and take the stairs. When your tracker tells you to move, it’s time.

BYOL – Bring your own lunch. You’ll save money and calories, by planning ahead and packing a nutritious lunch. 

Water – Fill your water bottle throughout the day. It controls calorie consumption, increases energy and brain function, aids in digestion and improves your mood.

Snack Smart – Avoid the sugary snacks for the afternoon lull. Instead fill up with healthy energy snacks such as: almonds, Greek yogurt with berries, apple or banana with peanut butter, veggies with hummus, smoothie, cheese with whole grain crackers or bread etc.

Self-Awareness - Tune into your body, mind and life. The more self-aware you are the more you will make choices that allow you to lead your best life.