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Year 2 for HEALTHY YOU

01/19/12
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By Office of News & Public Affairs |

Published: Jan. 19, 2012

The University’s “HEALTHY YOU” initiative is preparing to kick off a second year of efforts to improve the health and wellness of all Boston College employees, with organizers hoping to build on the first year’s high rate of participation.

Launched in the fall of 2010, HEALTHY YOU emphasizes individual choice and responsibility through a voluntary program that focuses on wellness. It includes a range of resources to help faculty and staff avoid the risks that lead to an illness or ongoing health issue, and to improve management of a chronic illness.

The HEALTHY YOU website, besides offering news and updates on the initiative, and links to health and wellness information, now includes video testimonials from nine BC employees who have taken steps to improve their health as a result of HEALTHY YOU.

“We are very encouraged by the response we have received so far to our HEALTHY YOU initiative,” said Associate Vice President for Human Resources Robert Lewis. “I am particularly impressed by those colleagues who took the time to share their HEALTHY YOU-related stories on video at our website. I think there are words of wisdom and encouragement there for all of us and I hope members of our community take the time to check them out.”

HEALTHY YOU’s inaugural year featured a “Know Your Numbers” campaign encouraging employees to find out or update important health indicators such as height, weight, blood pressure, overall and HDL cholesterol and blood glucose levels. During this past semester, based on aggregate results from those taking the Harvard Pilgrim Health questionnaire, the University introduced a lunchtime seminar series on health and wellness-related topics, such as nutrition, stress management and exercise. Nine BC Bookstore raffle prizes were awarded, including an iPad that was won by the spouse of a BC researcher who attended the Health Fair.

The lunchtime seminar series also will be offered during the second year of HEALTHY YOU, organizers say. Bookstore raffle prizes will again be awarded at each of the lunchtime events and on-campus biometric screenings, with a grand prize drawing at the end of the semester for an iPad. Free, on-campus biometric screenings are planned for March and April, and “Know Your Numbers” will return. Eligible employees and their spouses will again be asked to fill out a personal, confidential health questionnaire — administered through HPHC — that includes their biometric information. Incentive rewards will again be offered to employees and spouses who participate in the program.  More information on the HEALTHY YOU planned events for the spring semester and gift card rewards will be available shortly.

HEALTHY YOU organizers base their confidence for a successful sophomore year on the BC community’s response during the first year. An average of approximately 50 people attended each of the lunchtime seminars, for example, while some 1,000 employees flocked to the Health Fair — where about 600 flu shots were administered with minimal waiting time, thanks to the presence of nurses from University Health Services, HPHC and the Connell School of Nursing.

During 2010-11, 2,028 BC employees and their spouses took the HPHC questionnaire, or close to 50 percent of all eligible employees and 43 percent of all those eligible — a rate of participation considered very satisfactory, organizers note. Three hundred and 19 participants decided to use the services of a health coach provided through the program free of charge, and set an overall total of 552 goals for improving their health.

 “We hope to get even more employees and spouses involved this year especially with the Harvard Pilgrim health care coaches who have gotten rave reviews from those who have been in contact with them this past year,” said Lewis.