Michigan Businesses Help Implement the Michigan Health & Wellness 4 x 4 Plan
Frequent media reports remind us of the obesity epidemic plaguing our state. Michigan spends billions of dollars annually on obesity-related medical costs ($3.1 billion in 2008), and will reach $12.5 billion in 2018 if the current trend continues. Michigan worksites pay for obesity-related illnesses through rising healthcare costs and lost productivity. Because of obesity’s impact on the health of Michigan residents and the economy, Governor Snyder has identified obesity prevention and reduction as a top priority of his administration. As a first step in curbing the obesity epidemic, the governor unveiled the Michigan Health and Wellness 4 x 4 Plan in June 2012. The plan lays out specific strategies for various sectors—including businesses—to implement in order to decrease the state’s obesity rate.
There are several worksite strategies that Michigan businesses can implement without having to invest a great deal of money or time:
- Assess your worksite using the Designing Healthy Environments at Work assessment tool (www.mihealthtools.org/work), and develop an action plan based on the assessment feedback report.
- Use the resources available on the Michigan Health & Wellness 4 x 4 website (http://www.michigan.gov/healthymichigan), including the development of worksite environments that encourage and support healthy eating, physical activity and the adoption of the 4 x 4 Plan. Additional worksite resources are available on the Michigan Department of Community Health’s website at www.michigan.gov/cvh under “Healthy Businesses.”
- Access the Our Partner Resource page for employers to download tools to promote the 4 x 4’s “MI Healthier Tomorrow” campaign at work.
- Support breastfeeding in the workplace by establishing policies and providing appropriate space and break time for breastfeeding.
- Promote a workplace healthy food policy that supports nutritious foods in the company cafeteria, vending machines and work functions. Some examples include developing recommendations for healthy food and beverages offered at employers’ meetings and parties, offering competitively-priced food and beverages that are aligned with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, and working with suppliers to include specified percentages of healthy food in recommended portion sizes in vending machines and cafeterias.
- Provide opportunities for employees to be physically active during the work day, such as promoting stair usage, providing shower facilities, and offering alternative work schedules so employees can increase physical activity during the work day.
The Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) is helping the governor implement the plan by offering many easy-to-use, no-cost resources for worksites. If you have additional questions please contact Christi Demitz at email@example.com or 517/335-8771.