Lewis County employees are on the path to better health, having completed the first two weeks of a new county-wide wellness challenge laid out for them by the Lewis County Wellness Committee.
Last week, employees from all across the county — including Department of Social Services, Office for the Aging, Lewis County Public Health, Human Resources, and Highway Department, among others — focused on increasing their water consumption. The week before that, they were charged with eating local produce in a “100 Mile Food Challenge.”
The goal was to eat one serving of foods grown, produced, and sold within 100 miles of their home, four times that week. The Lewis County Wellness Committee provided participants with a list of reasons why is it so important to eat local and a copy of Cornell Cooperative Extension’s 2017 Local Food Guide for Lewis County, which lists the farmers market schedules as well as local farms and stands. At the end of the week, everyone who completed the challenge was entered into a drawing for an extremely generous prize that was donated by Kraft-Heinz.
Participants will continue in the challenge for four more weeks, focusing on:
- decreasing added sugar
- eating mindfully
- going “fast food free”
- increasing vegetable consumption
Each week, participants receive an email containing the challenge, a healthy tip related to the challenge, and a list of local resources or ideas that will help them complete the challenge.
The challenge is free to enter and the prizes have all been donations. The Lewis County Wellness Committee said it is grateful that local agencies and businesses are supporting this initiative. It has also been very pleased with wellness challenge participation so far and hopes that this challenge will be the first of many.
While the challenge is designed to tackle one healthy habit at a time, the overall goal is for employees and residents of Lewis County to incorporate these healthy behaviors into their daily routine.
The Lewis County Wellness Committee was started after data from the region’s Community Health Assessment (2016) indicated that obesity rates among children and adults in Lewis County exceed the statewide average. In adults alone, the obesity rate rose from 28.8% in 2011 to 33.3% in 2014. Thus, obesity was identified as a priority health indicator to be addressed in the county.
Lewis County Public Health and other community agencies used this data to develop strategies and activities to improve priority health indicators. Developing worksite wellness programs is one of the strategies that was chosen to to address obesity among adults in Lewis County.