Wellness is a big push at most companies and that's no exception for our parent company. Bottom line is, the bottom line is being eroded by healthcare costs as a national trend. Ask any company in any field of any size. For the last two years, as part of the benefits package, our parent company has rolled out wellness initiatives including online personal health assessments (PHA's), biometric screenings, and offered a discount on employee premiums, just for taking part in those measures. There's even a nifty voluntary program where they will send you information if your screening/PHA shows an area of concern -- just information for you to discuss with your doctor and maybe a call from a wellness nurse or other employee to see if you received it, have questions, etc.
While my division does not take part in the corporate initiative (long story and not really germane) we have done a few things on our own. One wellness program in which we took part was the American Heart Association's START! program -- we did the National START! Eating Healthy Day as well as the START! Heart Walk. I'd love to see 100% turnout for both, but then again, I'd love to see a winning lottery ticket shoot forth for me too.
Our work with the AHA has led me to working on a symposium with them next week on Corporate Wellness. As a presenter, I've been reading up on wellness news. For part of my presentation, I decided to throw in a slide about "Shape of the State" .... and pulled up lots of statistics from federal and state groups, as well as private wellness foundations.
Fellow South Cacks, we are in a world of hurt. If you weren't already aware, the "F is for Fat" initiative released their studies earlier this week and the whole country's in bad shape -- literally. ONE state has an adult obesity rate at under 20%. So mazel tov, Colorado, you're doing something right! South Carolina's rank is 8th worst. That's an "improvement" over 4th in a previous year's release.... but the bad news is that other states have caught up and passed us, so it's not a real improvement.
In fact, here's the most mind-blowing statistic of all:
"Twenty years ago, no state had an obesity rate above 15 percent. Fifteen years ago, Mississippi had the highest obesity rate, at 19.4 percent, which is lower than the lowest ranking state today, (Colorado at 19.8 percent)."
And I don't get it.
I don't get why we insist on digging our graves with a spoon, tilling the soil with a fork.
I don't get why we are afraid to move an extra muscle or two except to lift 12 ounces at a time.
I don't get why we frequent restaurants and chow down a double or triple-size portion of food, and cackle at our cleverness.
I don't get why we have forgotten how much fun it was to be a kid and bike all over our town and now we won't even step off our porches to walk around the block.
You know what? I've forgotten what it was like back in the day. I've forgotten what it's like to feel drained to just breathe. I've forgotten what it's like to pile food on my plate and stretch my stomach beyond normal limits because I thought I needed it. I've forgotten what it was like to come home and just do nothing. Yes, I do too much but you know something else? I have the energy now to keep up with it - not a limitless supply (see earlier posts) but way more than I would have ever imagined.
And I don't get how I lived like that for so long. I don't get how I could have let myself just go that way. I don't get how. I don't get why.
What I get is the amazing feeling I have now. As for me, if the price of 20 more years of good life is to eat broccoli, move my butt more often, and get regular medical care -- I'll pay it!! Life is fantastic, and I'm just sorry it took me so long to realize what I squandered in my early years.
The good news is that it's never too late to stop where you are and start fresh. Every day is a do-over. For those of us who are moving within a healthier lifestyle (and keep aiming high), we know that one meal is not the downfall.... it's in the refusal to get up and keep trying.
And that's one thing I will never get.