New HPDP partnership grant to guide workplace wellness

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CHAPEL HILL, NC–NC Prevention Partners (NCPP), in partnership with the UNC Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, has received a one-year grant from the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to build on the success of NCPP’s Healthy NC Hospital Initiative to develop metrics to guide hospitals nationwide to establish best-practice workplace wellness systems.

These metrics-which will address healthy food environments, nutrition benefits, breast-feeding-support, physical activity, tobacco-free campuses, quit tobacco systems for employees, and the overall culture of wellness-will focus on the organization’s policies, benefits, environments and management practices rather than traditional worksite wellness programs that are aimed directly at individual employees.

“We find that these organizational workplace wellness metrics are often the missing link because they align the practices that are already in place and maximize the impact to support employees to be healthy,” said NCPP President and CEO Meg Molloy.  “For example, creating a healthy food environment provides lots of good choices in the cafeteria and vending machines and provides nutrition labeling and price incentives for healthy foods, which are all perfect complements to the traditional programs aimed at helping individuals to change their behaviors,”  Molloy said.

“North Carolina hospitals are leading the way in creating healthier workplaces and communities,” said Meredith Reynolds, Ph.D., Team Lead for the Guidelines and Recommendations Team within the Obesity Branch of the Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity at the CDC. “We’re excited to partner with NCPP. Their experience working with all 127 acute care hospitals will help us create the gold standard for employee wellness in hospitals nationwide.”

In recent years, NCPP’s Healthy NC Hospital Initiative guided all acute care hospitals in the state to go 100 percent tobacco-free campus wide. In addition, 84 of  North Carolina hospitals have achieved the healthy food standard and 70 more are actively working on action plans to ensure that healthy foods are more available, visible and affordable.

“Transforming hospital environments is critical because it doesn’t just affect hospital employees, visitors, and patients,” Reynolds said.  “Hospitals serve as important role models for businesses in their communities, so their impact extends far beyond their own walls.”

Alice Ammerman, Director of the UNC Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention said that the partnership will help the center carry out its mission of translating research into practice.  “NC Prevention Partners is working on the ground in so many communities,” Ammerman said. “We are excited to be a part of such a high impact project.”

 

BACKGROUND:

NC Prevention Partners (NCPP) is a leader in reducing preventable illness and early death in North Carolina caused by tobacco use, poor nutrition, physical inactivity and obesity. NCPP has received national recognition for its Healthy NC Hospital Initiative, and WorkHealthy America SM program, which assists private and public employers to improve employee health and reduce healthcare and productivity costs.  Find out more at www.ncpreventionpartners.org.

The UNC Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention addresses pressing health problems by collaborating with communities to conduct research, provide training, and translate research findings into policy and practice.HPDP is one of 37 CDC Prevention Research Centers, an interdependent network of community, academic, and public health partners that conduct prevention research and promote practices proven to promote good health.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC) serves as the national focus for developing and applying disease prevention and control, environmental health, and health promotion and health education activities designed to improve the health of the people of the United States. Find out more at http://www.cdc.gov.

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