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Employers boost Healthy Yuma campaign
It only kicked off a few months ago, but Healthy Yuma 2011 has already gained momentum as Yuma's root community health initiative, encouraging several local organizations to get involved and keep Yuma healthy.
Dr. Carl Myers, a retired oncologist coordinating Healthy Yuma, said the program has started out well, but there is always room for more people to join the health initiative. Myers also commended the first companies and organizations that got involved in the program.
“A lot of things are just beginning to happen, but these are some of the people who were sort of the pioneers in jumping on board early on,” he said.
Skyview Cooling Co.
One of the key participants in Healthy Yuma 2011 has been the local vegetable grower and processor, Skyview Cooling Co.
The company is headquartered in Yuma but also operates branches throughout Arizona, Colorado and Mexico.
Skyview has been promoting “Walk Across the United States,” which challenges employees to compete as they keep track of how many miles they walk until reaching their proverbial destination of Washington, D.C. Victor Smith is president of Skyview Cooling.
Ashley Davis, who handles employee wellness, said the company has been promoting health for some time now through company-based newsletters and their program called Skyfit.
“We have a newsletter, we do different challenges, provide employees with information.”
Davis said the company is trying to get as many people signed on as possible for Healthy Yuma. Participating employees are also encouraged to pick a health goal for themselves, be it to lose 15 pounds, gain some healthy pounds or anything else to improve their lives.
Another group that recently become involved in the health kick is OnTrack Fitness, a local company that provides personal fitness training to its clients.
OnTrack's owner, Emily Collins, said she is all for the Healthy Yuma campaign.
“My clients, we're keeping track of their weight loss and miles and everything. Their personal training end will include all of that in Healthy Yuma.”
Collins said in an effort to keep Yuma's employees healthy, her business also offers corporate work and wellness programs. So far she has seen a positive response to the program and its participation with the community.
“People are starting to really get on board with it. I think more and more people are really taking notice of it and wanting to participate. So I think that it's getting better and better as time goes on.
“It's such a great initiative because it touches on several different aspects. Not just exercise, nutrition or weight loss. But it's touching on wellness as a whole, through different aspects.”
For information on OnTrack Fitness and the public programs it has to offer, check out the company website at www.ontrackfitness.net.
City of Yuma
Yuma Mayor Al Krieger is also striving for a healthy Yuma with his Apple A Day Program that kicked into full gear last month.
Krieger said that after a $6,000 grant from local dentist location Kool Smiles, he's been able to purchase apples to have available for city employees at City Hall, Yuma Police Department and the Public Works Department.
“The benefit to the taxpayers is that now we have city employees that are healthier, eating healthier and feeling better about work,” Krieger said.
Krieger said the efforts to get employees to eat better and exercise more would substantially lower health costs through preventive action.
“We encourage them, instead of having an unhealthy snack, look at that apple and have that apple.”
Krieger said that employees' reception to the apples has been great and that he hopes to find further investors to keep the program going.
“If I can get my employees to really take a liking to apples, like they do soda pop, then they'll start buying apples and bringing them to work and it'll be a bit of a natural process.”
Paul Ash Management
Erica Romant, community manager at Rio Santa Fe Apartments, works for the complex's parent company, Paul Ash Management, which recently became involved with Healthy Yuma 2011 after hearing about it through Emily Collins at OnTrack Fitness.
Romant said upon learning about Healthy Yuma, Rio Santa Fe was eager to get involved and asked Collins to help out.
“We had decided to start up a weekly (exercise) class that she does up in our clubhouse,” Romant said. The classes are free for employees and residents every Thursday from 6 to 7 p.m. at the complex's clubhouse, 1600 W. 12th St.
Romant said with the five or six participants, the program is gaining speed. She hopes that it continues to grow because she feels that good health is a priority for all.
“I think it's hugely important” because so many children and adults are dealing with obesity, Romant said.
This feeling also reflects in Paul Ash Management and its health awareness for company employees.
Romant said the apartment complex recently held a wellness fair for its employees and strives to keep morale up with HR-sent wellness tips.
“We're trying to do at least one thing a month,” Romant said.
Yuma Regional Medical Center
As a key supporter of the Healthy Yuma movement, it is no surprise that Yuma Regional Medical Center has a few projects up the sleeves of their white coats.
According to Angelica Velasco, wellness chairwoman for YRMC, the hospital has become proactive with employee health by implementing an employee-wide weight loss challenge.
“We recently completed our six-week weigh-in, and of the employees that weighed-in, we have lost a total of 1,700 pounds.”
Velasco added that so far, the response to the weight loss challenge has been excellent with 406 participants.
She said employees involved have embraced the opportunities for a healthy lifestyle that the hospital has offered them.
In support of the weight loss program, the hospital has provided participants with a walking course in the hospital and various health classes throughout the months.
“Employees are very excited that they now have the opportunity to walk three-quarters of a mile within hospital hallways. Employees are able to use the path during breaks, meals times or before and after work,” Velasco said.
Velasco said the hospital's goal with the program is to help raise health awareness and to get employees on a path toward a healthier weight.