Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Utah Leaders “Choose Health,” Encourage Others to Do the Same

(Salt Lake City, UT) – State agency directors, members of Governor Gary Herbert’s office, and legislators continue their commitment to better health.  The Governor’s Choose Health Challenge began September 25 and runs for 10 weeks, ending December 6, 2012.
Participants chose a personal goal for better health and signed a pledge to track their commitment to things like physical activity, nutrition, and sleep.  They were screened for weight, body fat, and blood glucose levels at the start of the challenge, and will repeat the screenings at the end of the challenge and be awarded points for improvements.
Governor Gary Herbert continues to work toward his exercise goals through regular running and playing tennis, and has dramatically reduced his soda intake.  In addition, the Governor's office has extended the challenge to all staff to set goals and created additional weekly activities that staff may participate in. Goals and activities are tracked, and employees reaching their goals will be recognized.
Dr. David Patton, Executive Director of the Utah Department of Health (UDOH), reached his personal health goal of riding his bike nearly 20 miles from home to work. “It’s important for state leaders to demonstrate a strong commitment to health, and support the employees we work with to do the same,” said Dr. Patton. 
Challenge participants also earn points by starting or supporting a worksite Wellness Council.  Department of Administrative Services (DAS) Executive Director Kim Hood created a DAS Walk & Talk Program for staff.  “I encourage everyone who wants to reduce their stress level, improve their energy, and just start feeling better in general to take the challenge and get that daily focus on their health and their exercise,” said Hood.  “The Challenge has made me focus on making changes and I know that it is something that I have to do every day.” 
The UDOH Wellness Council hosted an educational “brown-bag” lecture on managing stress, and hosts two weekly, mile-long walks for employees. 
The Capitol Hill Wellness Council planned five events for the Challenge, giving employees opportunities to hike, walk, or run.  An average of 22 employees participated in each event. And several Wellness Councils organized teams and participated in the recent Utah Marathon.
Though a 10-week challenge will not solve Utah’s health problems, it shows the Governor’s commitment to ensuring state employees work in an environment that values wellness.
For more information on the Governor’s Health Challenge, visit: www.choosehealth.utah.gov.
Media Contact:
Heather Borski 
Manager, Bureau of Health Promotion
(o) 801-538-9998  (m) 801-499-1018