The nonprofit Wellness Institute of Greater Buffalo is inviting Western New York employers and organizations to make a New Year “healthy choices resolution” by participating in the annual Eat Well Live Well Challenge. This results-focused wellness Challenge, provided by Wegmans Markets, empowers participants by increasing physical activity and making better nutrition choices. Together these actions enable individuals to improve their health and lower their risk for unnecessary medical costs from chronic illnesses.
Healthier employees also benefit employers of all sizes and from all sectors — and the communities they are located in — through improved workplace productivity and morale while positively impacting job retention and job creation.
“The Challenge is a proven wellness program that offers employers and community organizations a valuable opportunity to be proactive in improving health and health care cost management,” said Philip Haberstro, executive director of the Wellness Institute of Greater Buffalo (www.CreatingHealthyCommunities.org).
The main goal of the eight-week competitive Eat Well Live Well Challenge is to improve health by encouraging individuals to move more and increase the amount of fruits and vegetables they consume. Challenge participants are asked to do two simple things for eight weeks: Use a pedometer (a step counter) to record their steps each day, and record the number of cups of fruit and vegetables eaten each day.
The World Health Organization and U.S. Centers for Disease Control concur that 70 percent of chronic illnesses can be prevented with simple lifestyle changes such as eating healthier and becoming more physically active.
“That’s where Eat Well Live Well comes in,” added Haberstro. “The Eat Well Live Well Challenge is a proven health promotion program that requires a minimal amount of time and investment for a powerful return. Participants need only walking shoes, pedometers and the desire to be healthy! It’s a very simple, confidential and productive way to engage employees and family members to lead a healthier lifestyle. Employers from all sectors and organizations will also discover that the program results in greater teamwork, builds camaraderie and complements existing efforts to manage health costs.
“The Western New York community needs to acknowledge the hard facts about our community health and take action,” said Haberstro. “More than 65 percent of our adult population is overweight, resulting in an increase in the number of Type II diabetes cases. Insufficient levels of regular physical activity is a risk factors for several cancers and greater risk of cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure and stroke. Participation in the Eat Well Live Well program is both health enhancing and a sound community economic development tactic.”
The website www.eatwelllivewell.org, free for employers, employees and community organizations, offers user-friendly support and resources to help participants achieve their wellness goals.
“With more than 200,000 participants nationally, the Eat Well Live Well Challenge has received national recognition and a Certificate of Recognition for Outstanding Prevention Efforts from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services,” said Haberstro. “The Challenge has been successfully implemented for the past four years in the Buffalo-Niagara region, with participation from employers such as Rich Products, New Era Cap, American Red Cross, Walsh Insurance Group, M&T Bank, University at Buffalo and the Buffalo Public School System.”
For employers or community organizations interested in the Eat Well Live Well Challenge, information sessions will take place from 9 to 10 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 8 or Thursday, Jan. 17 at the Wegmans store located at 651 Dick Road, Depew.
Eat Well Live Well training sessions will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday, Feb. 1 or Friday, Feb. 15 at the Wegmans store located at 5275 Sheridan Drive, Williamsville. A complimentary healthy continental breakfast will be served.
Pre-registration for either the information or training session is required as space is limited. Attendance at an information session is optional; attendance at a training session is required for new participating employers. The training session will focus on how to successfully implement the Eat Well Live Well Challenge. Once launched, the Wellness Institute is available at no cost to participating employers to support their participation and ensure positive results.
For information or to register for either an information or training session, please contact the Wellness Institute at 851-4052 or email BeActive@City-Buffalo.org.