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Worksite Wellness

A well-designed workplace wellness initiative offers an organizational structure and a physical environment that supports employee health and encourages positive lifestyle behaviors such as adequate physical activity, healthy eating, tobacco-free environments and support for nursing moms. 

Working adults in the Unites Stated spend most of their day in the workplace, leaving the work environment with significant potential to influence health.

Healthy, motivated employees are important to the workplace and can have a positive impact on the employer's bottom line. Workplace wellness initiatives can help employers manage the cost of  health care benefits and insurance by providing a positive return on investment for medical costs for a comprehensive workplace wellness initiative at $3.25 and savings on absenteeism costs at $2.70 for every $1 spent on wellness programs. 

SHIP can provide the foundation to a comprehensive program!

People who eat healthfully maintain a healthier weight and reduce their risk for many chronic disease and even some cancers. Most Minnesotans do not meet the recommended daily intake of at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables per day. Many people cite time barriers and unhealthy work environments as their biggest barriers to eating healthy diet. Studies show that people make an average of 230 food decisions a  day. The food environment is a key factor influencing those decision. Workplaces that provide fresh, healthy foods on site and in meetings allow for individuals to make healthy food choices part of their lives. 


  1. Increase access to fruits and vegetables

  2. Decrease access to added sugars

  3. Decrease access to saturated fats

  4. Decrease access to sodium 

Healthy Eating Strategy

People who are physically active are more likely to maintain a healthier weight, improve their stress response, and reduce their risk for many chronic disease and some cancers. The recommended level of physical activity to produce health benefits is 30 minutes of moderate activity at least five days per week, or 20 minutes of vigorous activity at least three days per week. Only 53 percent of Minnesota adults are meeting the recommendation.

For the physical activity component, workplaces can address the following:

  • Active Transportation: Encouraging active commuting, making it easier to be active during breaks, and/or incorporating physical activity into the workday by promoting biking and walking. 

  • Access to facilities: Increase access to fitness facilities in the workplace by offering an on-site fitness center/workout room, having bicycles for employees to sue during the workday, offering on-site fitness classes, showers, lockers, and connection to other area facilities

  • Access to opportunities: Allow for work-time opportunities to be active by encouraging walking meetings, standing meetings, sit/stand desks and daily stretch breaks. Identify areas around the work campus to be active such as mapping walking/biking trails and distances from the campus, and flexible scheduling to increase activity throughout the day. 


  1. Increase lifelong physical activity skills

  2. Increase walking and bicycling

  3. Increase recreational physical activity

  4. Increase workplace physical activity 

Physical Activity Strategy

Breastfed babies are at a lower risk for many health problems, such as ear and respiratory  infections,  diarrhea, asthma and obesity, and others who breastfed are less likely to develop diabetes or breast or ovarian cancer. 

For health of babies and mothers, health experts recommend women exclusively breastfeed their babies for at least six months, and continue breastfeeding through one year or longer. 

Returning to work is a critical transition for breastfeeding women. Many choose to quit breastfeeding because of the challenges with expressing milk while at work with little or no support from employers. Federal and Minnesota laws now require workplaces to accommodate breastfeeding moms because breast milk is the optimal food for infants. 


  1. Reduce barriers to breastfeeding for nursing mothers returning to work

  2. Provide a safe, clean, private space for mothers to express milk


Breastfeeding Support Strategy

The negative health effects of tobacco use are well-known. Smoking is the leading cause of preventable U.S deaths each year, and the associated diseases  and health care costs are significant.  Smokers incur more medical costs, see physicians more often and are admitted to hospitals for longer periods than nonsmokers.

Tobacco use is thus one of the nation's deadliest and most costly public health challenges. 

In additional to direct health effects to tobacco users, employees who do not smoke can be impacted by secondhand smoke. Committing to a completely tobacco-free workplace (buildings, grounds, and vehicles) and promoting cessation will positively impact all employees. 


  1. Eliminate tobacco use at work

  2. Reduce the number of tobacco users in the workplace by offering quit support

Tobacco Free Living

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