A last round of worksite wellness grants handed out in Summit County | SummitDaily.com

A last round of worksite wellness grants handed out in Summit County

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SUMMIT COUNTY – To promote healthy-living practices in Summit County, a worksite wellness initiative recently awarded almost $15,000 in grants. The Summit Prevention Alliance currently sponsors the program, which focuses on keeping an office fit and healthy.

Colorado Mountain College, the Red, White and Blue Fire District, the Summit County School District, Summit County Government, the Town of Breckenridge, St. Anthony Summit Medical Center, the Town of Dillon and the Town of Silverthorne all received funds to supplement its 2010-11 employee wellness services.

Through the program, local worksites are urged to create a culture of health in the workplace because that’s where people spend a majority of their time.

“We’re looking at trying to be creative in how we address our ever-increasing health care costs,” said Dillon town manager Devin Granbery. “If we have healthier employees, that helps us with a long-term reduction in those types of health care costs.”

The Summit Prevention Alliance staff encourages creativity when designing a better-wellness program, but the nonprofit also provides some guidelines to pinpoint which services will help change unhealthy behaviors.

“Recipients do a variety of programs,” said Summit Prevention Alliance LiveWell grant coordinator Jannine Walldan. “Like exercise education and nutrition education. Different groups are doing different things.”

With the initiative heading into its third year, Walldan also said the wellness program will undergo revisions as its current funding peters out – a $200,000 LiveWell Colorado grant will end after the 2010-11 grant cycle. LiveWell Colorado is a state-wide nonprofit focused on the prevention and reduction of obesity.

“We’re looking into other options,” Walldan said. “The hospital (St. Anthony Summit Medical Center) may take over worksite wellness for the future.”

According to Walldan, she’s heard numerous success stories relating to the local wellness initiative.

“The hospital had a biggest-loser program, and its 37 participants lost more than 400 pounds as a group,” she said. “And the Town of Dillon surveyed its employees prior to starting its worksite wellness program and only 3 percent of Dillon’s staff were eating five fruits and veggies a day. Now they have 74 percent.”

A Health Promotion Management assessment for the Town of Dillon’s 2009 wellness program also said its staff participants lowered their collective weight and become more active.

For 2010-11, Granbery said the town will put an emphasis on group activities – like a healthy-cooking classes and discussions on stress reduction, sleep and energetic living.

In 2009, the Town of Silverthorne gave its employees one-on-one sessions with a registered dietitian, and it sponsored participation in the Silverthorne recreation center’s fitness challenge. A group was also able to have access to personal health coaching.

“One upcoming wellness challenge for this summer will be a pedometer challenge where employees can learn how far they walk each day and establish distance goals, and the grant funding will assist with the purchase of pedometers for the challenge,” said Silverthorne spokesman Ryan Hyland.

Walldan added that the Summit County government was particularly successful in lowering its participants’ blood pressures – 66.7 percent of its participants to be exact.

For more information about the Summit Prevention Alliance, visit http://www.summitpreventionalliance.org.

To learn more about LiveWell Colorado, visit http://www.livewellcolorado.org.

SDN reporter Caitlin Row can be reached at (970) 668-4633 or at crow@summitdaily.com.

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