Wellness Action Steps to Better Health

According to the County Health Rankings, an annual breakdown of the health of counties in every state, there are a multitude of factors that influence health, including where people live, learn, work, and play. Improving the health of a community should be everyone’s business, and employers play a critical role in helping to build healthy communities and promote a healthy population. These action steps outline steps employers can take to partner with others and invest in the health of a community through sustainable and evidence-based interventions.

ACTION ITEM #1: Create Cultures of Health at the Worksite

  • Provide financial and organizational support for evidence-based h­ealth promotion interventions.
  • Communicate consistently with workers in a variety of ways (web, print, social media, face to face) to encourage positive health behaviors.
  • Promote social and organizational support from peers and supervisors by providing space and time for groups to informally gather and discuss healthy behaviors.
  • Enforce policies, procedures, practices, and organizational norms that support a healthy lifestyle, such as nutritious food and drink options in vending machines and break rooms.
  • Incentivize participation in health improvement activities such as the completion of a health risk assessment.
  • Create a common purpose that is dedicated to a healthier workforce and community.

ACTION ITEM #2: Utilize Resources that Foster Health and Wellness

  • The National Healthy Worksite Program is designed to assist employers in implementing evidence-based prevention and wellness strategies that lead to specific, measurable health outcomes.
  • The Lean Works program helps employers plan, implement, and assess worksite obesity prevention and control programs.
  • Diabetes at Work is an online resource specifically designed to address the management of diabetes in the workplace and includes resources, lesson plans, and fact sheets on various diabetes topics.
  • The toolkit on implementing a tobacco-free campus, as part of the Healthier Worksite Initiative, includes policy and comprehensive cessation services for employees.
  • Immunizations are a safe and effective way to keep your family healthy. Encourage and remind your employees and their dependents to stay up to date on recommended immunizations.

ACTION ITEM #3: Engage Local Plans & Employ V-BID

  • Value-based insurance design (V-BID) comprehensively addresses the way health benefits are both structured as well as utilized by employees.
  • Because lifestyle interventions and better chronic care management require active beneficiary engagement, V-BID helps steer consumers to make healthier lifestyle and health care decisions.
  • Survey health plans in your market area to determine their capabilities to offer and support V-BID such as enrollee incentives to adopt healthy behaviors. Using an RFI process will result in more systematic information, which can be compared across carriers.

ACTION ITEM #4: Empower a Healthier Community

  • Talk the talk and walk the walk by expanding your commitment to health and wellness to the entire community.
  • Align company wellness efforts with local efforts such as walkathons, weight loss group challenges, and community service projects, or sponsor a wellness activity for the entire community.
  • Reach out to your local health department — they have tremendous expertise and resources and are deeply involved in community health efforts locally.
  • Become a community health partner by joining a Community Quality Collaborative or similar multi-stakeholder, community-based organization working to transform health and health care at the local level, and share your best practices, lessons learned, and expertise with others.
  • Review The Guide to Community Preventive Services when choosing programs and policies to improve health and prevent disease in your community. This comprehensive resource looks at effective program and policy interventions across a broad spectrum of health issues.
  • Similarly, What Works for Health provides a compendium of policies and programs for implementation that can be filtered by health behaviors, decision makers, and evidence ratings.
  • Conduct a health roadmap for your state. The County Health Roadmaps is an interactive web tool that incorporates county health data to tailor community health improvement solutions through factors that influence our health.
  • Take advantage of the wealth of CDC resources available on tools for community action as well as examples of evidence- and practice-based health improvement strategies from communities participating in the Strategic Alliance for Health, Communities Putting Prevention to Work, and the Division of Community Health.
  • Show your support of public health and commitment to a healthier America by signing up as a partner organization of National Public Health Week.

ACTION ITEM #5: Consider Joining Your Local Business Health Care Coalition

  • A coalition can be a vehicle for meaningful change at the local level. Many coalitions leverage the voice and power of their employer purchaser members, often through public-private partnerships, by serving as community leaders working to advance change.
  • Many coalitions are actively involved in community health and prevention efforts and can likely support your interests in population health improvement.