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ADA awards Delaware state-level health champion award

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The Department of Health and Social Services’ Division of Public Health (DPH) has been awarded a Health Champion Designation by the American Diabetes Association for instilling wellness in its worksite culture. Delaware is the first state-level office in the country to win the inaugural award.

The Health Champion Designation recognizes companies and organizations that inspire and encourage organizational well-being and is part of the Association’s Wellness Lives here  initiative.  Successful applicants met healthy living criteria in three categories:  nutrition and weight management, organizational well-being, and encouraging physical activity.

 “We are honored to be recognized as a Health Champion,” said Dr. Karyl Rattay, DPH Director.  “Employee wellness initiatives encourage healthy lifestyles to prevent diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and several cancers.  It is important for the Division of Public Health to model the practices and healthy lifestyles that we promote to the public.”

Examples of DPH policies and activities that qualified it for the Healthy Champion Designation include:

·         Producing a guide, titled Healthier Food and Snacks for Meetings, Seminars, and Catered Events. 

·         Allowing employees to wear ‘active wear’ clothing when staff have no scheduled meetings with vendors or outside meetings in exchange for at least 30 minutes of physical activity during the workday

·         Placing posters throughout building to encourage healthy activities such as taking the stairs/providing additional health information including ADA brochures and resources

·         Encouraging/permitting employees to stand at their desks and use stationary foot pedals/standing desk/active desks, etc.

·         Forming walking clubs

·         Adopting a smoke-free workplace policy (state policy)

·         Integrating health and wellness information into employee communications such as the internal newsletter

An estimated 70,000 adult Delawareans have diabetesThe prevalence of Delaware adults diagnosed with diabetes more than doubled from 4.9 percent in 1991 to 11.1 percent in 2013, and the state rate mirrors the national trend.  Severely overweight and obese individuals risk developing pre-diabetes or diabetes, especially if they have a family history of the disease.

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