Our nation is seeking strategies to address the negative health outcomes (e.g., heart disease, high blood pressure) associated with rising obesity rates, excessive sedentary behavior, poor nutritional habits, and tobacco use. Worksite wellness programs can help address these problems, and they have the added potential to increase staff productivity, attract and retain personnel, reduce absenteeism, raise morale, and reduce health care costs. Recognizing these benefits, President Obama challenged federal agencies to enhance the health and wellness services they offer to their employees. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency asked ERG for assistance.
ERG helped EPA develop A Healthier EPA: an Agency-wide health and wellness program that promotes fitness and weight management, health education and awareness, screening programs, nutrition, emergency and life-saving services, and a variety of other wellness-related topics (including smoking cessation, maternal wellness, and flu shots). ERG identified successful health and wellness best practices employed in public- and private-sector worksite wellness programs, developed program option packages for EPA to consider, and created a program implementation plan. Since the program’s launch, ERG has supported Agency-wide fitness challenges (e.g., annual Walk to Wellness, Healthier Lifestyle Challenge) and created more than 100 promotional products on wellness topics such as nutrition and weight management. ERG also prepares annual progress reports to track which health and wellness services are in place at individual EPA offices and laboratories.