City of Cedar Rapids designated as Blue Zones worksite

Designated worksites maintain work environments that promote, encourage employee well being

The City of Cedar Rapids received its Worksite Designation from the Blue Zones Project on Tuesday afternoon.

Blue Zones Designated Worksites maintain work environments that promote and encourage employee well being. Some of the individual elements that the city demonstrated to become a designated worksite include, supporting a breastfeeding policy and designating a breastfeeding room, on-site fitness centers, educational events, health benefits, and vending machines stocked with at least 50 percent healthful snack options, as well as weight management, nutrition, and chronic condition management coaching.

Sandi Fowler, assistant city manager for the city of Cedar Rapids, said these were all policies the city already had in place, it simply had to document them to receive the designation.

"We didn't have to add anything," she said, explaining the city designed the policies to decrease healthcare costs, absenteeism and chronic health conditions while increasing well being and productivity.

"What we're doing is already leading to a healthier workforce," she said.

Other designated worksites include Alliant Energy, CarePro Health Services, Health Solutions, Midwest Metal Products, St. Luke's Hospital, TrueNorth Companies, Van Meter Inc. - Cedar Rapids and Wellmark Cedar Rapids.

In addition to designated worksites, restaurants, grocery stores and schools can receive Blue Zone designations.

The Blue Zones Project is a key element of Gov. Terry Branstad's Healthiest State Initiative, which aims to make Iowa the healthiest state by 2016. The 15 Blue Zone communities receive funding and a staff to help bring health initiatives to the city.

It is funded by a 5-year, $25 million grant from Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield.

Any worksite in Iowa can become a designated Blue Zones Worksite.

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