New Worksite Wellness Platform Available to Promote Healthier Work Environments

Contact: Angela Minicuci (517) 241-2112

For Immediate Release: November 12, 2013

LANSING – The Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) has launched the Healthy Work Environments Platform, a new tool to help businesses promote healthier work environments. Governor Snyder has called special attention to health and wellness in Michigan, charging MDCH with reducing the state’s obesity rate. The new platform offers free, online tools for businesses to create a wellness program to meet the specific needs of their employees.

“Employers have the unique opportunity to shape the habits of large groups of people,” said James K. Haveman, Director of the MDCH. “The new platform offers the tools necessary for worksites to promote healthy behaviors and lower obesity rates in their communities. I encourage businesses of all sizes to take full advantage of these resources.”

Michigan is currently ranked 37th in the nation for its health status. Contributing to Michigan’s low health status is the prevalence of chronic diseases, which account for seven out of 10 deaths. Major risk factors responsible for much of the illness and early death related to chronic conditions are lifestyle choices, such as physical inactivity, tobacco use, and poor nutrition. The 2011 Michigan Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey show that for Michigan adults:

  • 82.2 percent report eating fewer than five servings of fruits & vegetables a day
  • 80.3 percent report not meeting the recommended guidelines for physical activity
  • 23.3 percent report smoking cigarettes on a regular basis

Employers can take small steps to make the healthy choice the easy choice for employees. Simple changes such as adding healthier items in vending machines, encouraging walking meetings, and ensuring a tobacco-free campus are just a few ways to support healthy choices. A healthier workforce can lower insurance premiums and workers’ compensation claims, lower absenteeism, increase productivity, and improve employee recruitment, retention and morale.

The Michigan Healthy Work Environments Platform contains tools and resources for making simple changes in the worksite. The free online resources include an assessment tool, suggestions for changes, progress-tracking capabilities, survey tools to capture employee feedback and a tool to document and share achievements. The Healthy Work Environments Platform is based upon similar state and national tools, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Worksite Health ScoreCard.

To register and use the free online assessment, surveys, planning tools and resources, visit www.mihealthtools.org/work/.  For more information about the Michigan Health and Wellness 4 x 4 plan, www.michigan.gov/healthymichigan.

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