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Jun 27

Ringgold County Encourages Healthy, Happy Employees

The Ringgold County Board of Supervisors adopted a voluntary county employee wellness policy recently. The Board’s action is intended to support and encourage employees to live healthy lifestyles. A group of county employees has volunteered to serve on a wellness committee charged with organizing activities.  Ringgold County Auditor Amanda Waske, co-chair of the committee, stated, “I am excited about making healthy choices easier during the workday and hopefully putting some fun into it at the same time.” The committee members recently spent a morning before work making a healthy, inexpensive breakfast for all county employees.

The county’s wellness policy notes, “Healthy employees are more productive and effective workers, require less expensive medical care, and are more satisfied with their jobs and their employer. Chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, obesity and diabetes are among the most prevalent and costly health problems for employers and employees. A healthy diet, regular physical activity program and screenings can prevent or delay the onset of many of these chronic health conditions and their associated health care costs.”

A growing number of employers nationwide are looking to offset rising health insurance costs. Today in Iowa 75% of health care dollars are spent on the treatment of chronic disease. Worksite wellness can help prevent this number from increasing every year by moving towards a culture of wellness and prevention.

Studies show that employers with over 250 employees are four times more likely to have a wellness program because they know it saves money and they have the extra resources. Over 73% of Iowa jobs are at companies with fewer than 250 employees. It is important for these smaller employers and their employees to have the same opportunities. Wellness programs help control health care costs while improving the health of employees. Many times taking the first step toward a wellness program is the toughest part just as it is for the individual to exercise and eat healthy.

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