February 14, 2012
They can be seen on some of the hottest and most frigid days, but nothing stops Karen Shaw, Lydia Gossett and Tony Davis of the Finance Department from their workday walk. The trio has taken their wellness goals to the next level, and in the fall of 2011 each earned their respective t-shirts for completing the 100-miler. Instead of stopping at 100 miles walked throughout the university’s scenic campus, the trio’s new goal is to conquer 250 or even 500 miles. Shaw said of the program, “I really wanted to start getting back into walking again. It helps me sleep and feel better, and I think it gives you more energy for your day and makes you more productive.” Shaw is often seen as the motivator in the Finance Department to assure everyone keeps walking.
Shaw, Gossett and Davis participate in the UNC Asheville Worksite Wellness Program. Their accomplishments exemplify change on UNC Asheville’s campus to promote healthy eating, physical activity and attention to preventive health. With the support and leadership of the Board, Chancellor’s Senior Staff, the growth of the Health and Wellness Department, the creation of the North Carolina Center for Health and Wellness (NCCHW), and opening of the Wilma Sherrill Center, UNC Asheville students, faculty and staff are encouraged to focus on setting health and wellness goals, and living a healthy lifestyle.
UNC Asheville is working hard to become a model campus for workplace health and wellness in North Carolina. The university has established a worksite wellness program and committee to help faculty and staff achieve a lifestyle that includes healthy eating, physical activity, tobacco cessation and stress management.
The main charge of the wellness committee is focused on their Weight Management Program. The program began in January 2011 after the 'Weigh to Health' study-Phase II, conducted out of UNC Chapel Hill ended. The program uses a 'Triangle Approach' to weight management, where participants are asked to set goals and create action steps in areas such as consistent physical activity, a balanced and nourishing diet and stress reduction skill building.
UNC Asheville’s program is modeled after the Center for Disease Control's Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes (TLC) program which targets LDL levels, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, blood pressure, HDL, triglycerides, blood glucose and weight status. The TLC program addresses the question if lifestyle changes can reduce weight and the risk for chronic disease. Participants are asked to track their weekly progress and focus on consistency with all goals and their action steps regularly revised based upon their current work or family demands and schedules.
Since its creation, the Worksite Wellness Program has served hundreds of UNC Asheville employees. Each participant has the opportunity to receive personal health coaching, personal training, attend Lunch-n-Learns, attend exercise classes, complete a health risk appraisal and receive a dietary analysis from UNC Asheville’s registered dietician, Janet Zusi. Lunch-n-Learn topics have included items such as Setting Realistic Goals, Stress Management, Healthy Eating with Cooking Demos, How to Stay Motivated, Stretching for Injury Prevention, Balancing Work and Home Strategies, and Arthritis and Food Connection.
Obesity and being overweight are health problems that affect more than 2/3 of U.S. adults. Health conditions associated with obesity include high blood pressure, coronary heart disease and type II diabetes. Lifestyle changes including healthy eating patterns, increased physical activity, stress reduction and weight management often improve the risk factors associated with obesity.
Those who partake in the program are eligible to receive incentives and rewards for both the process of working on reaching their goals and keeping track of their efforts to do so, and also the outcome of reaching their goal. All UNC Asheville faculty and staff are invited to join the Worksite Wellness Program free of charge at any point during the year.
If you would like to learn more about UNC Asheville’s Worksite Wellness Program please visit its website at http://hr.unca.edu/workplace-wellness.