Department of Health workers get physical

State Department of Health Kaua‘i employees partnered with the American Cancer Society (ACS) officials to roll out Active for Life (AFL), a physical- activity program, to its 3,000 employees, ACS officials said in a press release.

This is part of a broader, comprehensive DOH campaign to ultimately reach a larger population with health-promotion strategies and an ACS goal to pilot AFL Online with public employers.

The DOH Kauai District Health Office (DHO) employees were the first to kick off AFL in January, and 86 employees successfully completed the 10-week program last month.

In Hawai‘i, ACS officials are currently working with leaders of several of the larger privatesector companies in the state to promote employee wellness, and the DOH campaign is the first partnership of this kind with the public sector within the 13 ACS Divisions nationwide.

“Scientific research shows that employee health affects company productivity. Worksite health programs can improve productivity, recruitment and retention, and worksite morale,” said Dr. Chiyome Fukino, state DOH director.

“This is why we are promoting worksite wellness in our department, as well as other worksites in the state,” said Fukino.

Active for Life, a 10-week program, encourages people to be active 30 minutes a day, on five or more days a week.

Increased activity in turn increases overall productivity, reduces stress, and increases feelings of well-being.

In addition, just 30 minutes of physical activity on most days greatly reduces the risk for numerous chronic diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

Each Active for Life participant receives one point for each minute they are active daily.

Kauai DHO employees exceeded their physical activity goals and got approximately 303,251 minutes of exercise.

That’s an average of six hours a week or 50 minutes a day per participant.

A pedometer program was also offered to employees to keep track of their daily steps.

The DOH roll-out of Active for Life included brown-baglunch sessions, demonstrations to promote nutrition, physical activity, and tobacco-free lifestyles and health-risk screening assessments (Hawaii Medical Service Association Health Pass and Kaiser Online).

The Kauai DHO leaders invited Certified Personal Trainers Terri Halliday, Bev Brody (Kaua‘i’s Great Weigh Out coordinator), and Sunday Murch to be guest speakers.

And, Blossoming Lotus Restaurant chefs conducted a cooking demonstration during lunch.

Jan Ishibashi, team captain of Livestrong, says, “The worksite wellness program is a great opportunity to get involved, and to learn how to be active.

“It encouraged me to set my own goals based on how active I am, and how active I wanted to be. Being part of a team provided me with encouragement and motivation I needed to succeed,” she said.

“It was wonderful.” For more information on how to offer Active for Life in a worksite, contact the American Cancer Society toll-free at 1-800- ACS-2345 (1-800-227-2345), or see the Web site, www.cancer.

org.

State DOH officials are sharing their worksite-wellness strategies with other employers in a Worksite Wellness Tool Kit.

The kit has been created for both public and private employers, and explains how to plan and successfully implement physical activity and nutrition interventions in the worksite.

The kit is available at www.healthyhawaii.com.

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