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Here's to You: Business embraces wellness program

With the rising cost of health care and astro-nomically high obesity and illness rates, investing in human capitol - employees of a company - has never been more important.

It has become evident that the quick fix mentality for human health and wellness simply does not make sense. However, the importance of healthy diet and adequate exercise does make sense. Furthermore, incorporating wellness in the workplace is both logical and essential. In the last few years companies big and small have found much success in providing wellness for their employees. A worksite wellness program can be defined as an organized program in the worksite that is intended to assist employees and their family members - and/or retirees - in making voluntary behavior changes which reduce their health problems and enhance their individual productivity and well-being.

MedSave Family Pharmacy is an example of one local business that has put the wellness of employees at the forefront of their company. MedSave started the wellness program approximately three months ago. The goal at MedSave is to increase overall health and wellbeing of employees while decreasing the risk of chronic preventable diseases and resulting expenditures on reactive healthcare. Another goal is to decrease "presenteesim" - lowered productivity on the job - and absenteeism.

The MedSave wellness program includes education, motivation, nutrition and fitness. Some examples of these elements include: Fitness, nutrition and health risk assessments, walking programs, group fitness classes, lunch and learns, weekly challenges and wellness newsletters. The group classes range anywhere from boot camp to yoga. The business has also developed an innovative incentive program to encourage employee participation. Employees can earn points through participation in activities and turn those points in for prizes and paid time off. The percentages of participation range from 30 to 80 percent depending on the activity. The walking program appears to be the most popular thus far.

MedSave employee Julie Laitala said last month, "I have remained positive and tried every challenge. I have lost 10 lbs and my scrubs are looser."

I feel fortunate to work for a company that is putting wellness first. The education that we are receiving is wonderful. I feel great and look forward to reaching my personal goals.

MedSavehas developed a program for individuals, groups and corporations. The goal of all of these programs is to empower individuals to be in charge of their own healthy lifestyle. They assist people in weight loss, nutrition, motivation, mind-body balance and wise healthcare consumerism

MedSave Family Pharmacy encourages the community and local businesses to put wellness first and invest in a wellness program.

Aimee Imhoff and Amy Bubray are employed at MedSave Family Pharmacy in Bemidji.