Workplace wellness is an important, evidence-based SHIP strategy to improve healthy eating, increase physical activity, increase tobacco-free environments, and provide breastfeeding support through policy, systems, and environmental changes.
COMMERCIAL TOBACCO FREE
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.
Resources for Tobacco Free Environments
People who eat healthfully maintain a healthier weight and reduce their risk for many chronic diseases and even some cancers. Most Minnesotans do not meet the recommended daily intake of at least five servings of fruits and vegetables per day. Many people cite time barriers and unhealthy work environments as their biggest barriers to eating a healthy diet. Studies show that people make an average of 230 food decisions a day. The food environment is a key factor influencing those decisions. Workplaces that provide fresh, healthy foods on site and in meetings allow for individuals to make healthy food choices part of their daily lives.
Aitkin County SHIP Coordinator will help your workplace work on the environment (vending, healthy snack station creation, etc.), policy (which sustains a healthy eating environment), system (RFP/Contracts for vending services, pricing structure which encourages health food purchases, etc.) and social support (taste testing, lunch & learns, etc.).
Healthy Food Resources
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.
Suggested Breastfeeding Support Action Steps
Provide a place for new moms to express milk.
-Create a mother’s/lactation room that meets minimum standards. (A mother’s room is a private room that is clean and locks from the inside; contains an electrical outlet and comfortable room and a surface to place pump; and is near a source of water.)
Enact a breastfeeding support policy.
-The policy ensures that a place will be available for nursing moms, that women who need extra time (beyond their standard break time) for expressing milk can make up that time during the same week/pay period, and ensures that information regarding the mothers room is included in new employee materials/orientation and in the FMLA leave packet.
Breastfeeding Friendly Workplace Resources
People who are physically active are more likely to maintain a healthier weight, improve their stress response, and reduce their risk for many chronic diseases 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.
Suggested Physical Activity Action Steps
Identify and Recruit Allies
Identify equipment needed to support activities
-Lockers or Changing Rooms
Assess Current Work Environment
-Designate empty office space for personal storage or activity during the workday
-Order fitness equipment utilizing purchasing agreement structure
-Provide information sessions, maps for biking/walking to work
-Amend or initiate contract for installation of facility upgrades
Generate ideas and prioritize activity choices in desired area
-Facility Access or Transportation
Promotion and marketing of initiatives within organization
Don't forget to promote changes made!