SEPTEMBER 1, 2011 -- Fittingly, Jackson County's new "Living Smarter" Wellness program got launched Wednesday, August 31 with people in motion. Forming a "flash mob," several employees danced near the Andrew Jackson statue outside the courthouse in Kansas City and then took a brisk walk to demonstrate a primary theme of the program: Get moving.
The County has started this program to assist employees in becoming healthier and fitter. Chief Administrator Fred Siems thanked those employees who participated in the "flash mob," saying, "You're taking a first step, getting involved."
Siems pointed out that Blue Cross Blue Shield "Well Life" classes and webinars are already being made available to employees. The current classes are focusing on stress management, eating a "nutri-wise" diet and living tobacco free.
As the wellness program evolves additional classes will be offered. Also under consideration is developing a County exercise program and other wellness-related activities.
"You hear people say, 'I know I need to exercise. I'll get started Monday -- next Monday,'" Siems pointed out. "Well, we're getting started here today on a Wednesday. The key is to get started."
Information about the wellness program will be posted on JCOOL, the County's employee website.
The wellness program was started in response to the results of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Wellness Screenings conducted earlier this year. More than 80% of the employees who receive their health insurance through the County participated in the screenings, which included identifying potential at-risk factors.
Individual results have and will continue to be confidential, but overall numbers for County employees were tabulated. They revealed key at-risk areas:
71% of employees had a blood-pressure reading classified as either "pre-hypertensive" or "hypertensive."
53% had a body-mass index in the "obese" category.
35% had an above "normal" glucose number.
32% had an "at-risk" HDL cholesterol number.
29% expressed having issues related to stress.
21% indicated that they smoked.