March 22. 2012 2:00AM

Waukesha County employees take charge of their health

By Alysha Schertz

  
Around 360 leaders and employees of businesses and organizations in Waukesha County have signed up for the American Heart Association's Go Red Challenge sponsored by ProHealth Care. The workplace wellness initiative is a 12-week program focused on heart health.

"Our employees really really enjoy the Go Red for Women challenge, that's part of the reason we're sponsoring this year," said Susan Edwards, president and chief executive officer of ProHealth Care. "The statistics concerning cardiovascular disease among women are pretty scary."
While the 12-week program is designed to educate employees about heart healthy habits it's also about prevention and wellness, Edwards said.
"Prevention and wellness and a heart health workforce benefit all of us," Edwards said. "As an employer it means the possibility of reduced health care costs and much more productive employees.
The program started in February and runs through April, employees from Generac and the New Berlin School district are also enrolled in the program.
The program helps participants identify their risk factors for heart disease and stroke, take positive steps to reduce those risk factors and then learn how to maintain those changes for the long haul, said Vicky Dallmann-Papke, director of employee wellness at ProHealth Care.
"We have an all-encompassing wellness program at ProHealth Care," Dallmann-Papke said. "The Go Red for Women campaign is just part of our overall commitment to wellness."
Resident experts, nurse dieticians and health educators have put together onsite programming during the 12-week challenge, Dallmann-Papke said.
"Some programs include cooking courses, lectures, and understanding weight management programs among others," she said. "Many times our programs are booked solid. We've gotten an overwhelming response."
ProHealth Care has also offered tours of local grocery stores, courses on healthy eating and label reading.
"Our goal is to educate our employees," Dallmann-Papke said. "Wellness and health is a lifelong journey. Our hope is that they take this program and let it be the piece that gets them going and sustains them. Our hope is that they participate and they find it fun and exciting and that once they start the just never stop."
If you're company is interested in starting or improving its focus on wellness, be sure to check out the Humana Wellness Summit, presented in partnership by BizTimes Media and the Wellness Council of Wisconsin on Thursday, March 29. The event will be held at the Crowne Plaza West Milwaukee from 7:30 to 10 a.m. To register, or for more information, visit www.biztimes.com/wellness.

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