Getting Healthy in the Workplace

In an effort to help Houstonians get fit and healthy, several organizations are putting on a Worksite Wellness Conference to teach employers how to promote wellness at work.

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Houston has a high rate of medically uninsured employees. Residents also deal with poor air quality and a reputation for being one of the fattest cities in the nation. Dr. Robert Dickinson is Kelsey-Seybold's Wellness Program medical director. He says bringing health issues into the workplace is a strategy to give people health direction and support.

"We need folks to give us ideas about how we can improve our general health in every standpoint - from eating to exercise to smoking cessation to weight reduction where appropriate. These things all make huge impact not only on our happiness, but our longevity and as well make an impact on the bottom line."

The Worksite Wellness Conference is a new idea from the Houston Wellness Association, a non-profit health advocacy group. Board Chairman Jon Iszard says there are steps employers can take at every level to help their employees be healthier.

"Different employers will be at different stages in the process of adopting worksite wellness practices. We want to make sure that we are offering options not just for the big employers, but for smaller employers and even small employers that don't offer health benefits to their employees."

Some of the practical ideas for employers include programs for smoking cessation, weight loss and blood pressure control. The one-day conference is on November 16 at Minute Maid Park. Laurie Johnson, Houston Public Radio News.

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