President Karol McKean (far left) poses with OFA Interact Club students who attended the Rotary meeting last Tuesday. The OFA students who attended were: Kamryn Murphy, Ashton Durand, Tyler King, ShelbyLynn Paille, Kailey Kieff and Rebecca Fudge. Taffy Morrison was also guest speaker at the meeting. Morrison is pictured

(right) with McKean. Tangilena Media/ Sara Patrick

Well-Ahead LA aims to fight obesity

The Rotary Club of Amite welcomed multiple guests at their meeting on Tuesday, September 19. Jay Colvin gave an update on the local Boy Scouts, and Taffy Morrison presented information on workplace wellness from Well-Ahead Louisiana. The club also inducted Jessica Young of Woodforest National Bank as a new member.

The meeting began with the induction of Jessica Young. Member Lamarr Clemons told her about the history of the club, and she gave members some of her background. Young has been in Amite since 1998, owned her own business for over 10 years, and then joined the team at the bank a few years ago.

Colvin began by thanking the club for their donation, which helped several scouts attend a summer camp out of state. He said all five boys earned around 11 merit badges at the camp.

Then Morrison, Region 9 Coordinator for Well-Ahead Louisiana, spoke about the overall health of Louisiana and Tangipahoa Parish. She stated that Louisiana is ranked 50th for being the most unhealthy state with the highest rates of obesity. Of the 64 parishes in Louisiana, Tangipahoa falls toward the middle and lower rankings in many aspects including health factors (45th), health outcomes (35th) and adult obesity (39 percent).

“Health is all about making choices,” said Morrison, who stressed the importance of businesses offering healthy options to their employees.

The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals began the Well-Ahead Louisiana initiative with the aim of improving the health and wellness of all Louisiana citizens by promoting healthy choices at home and the workplace.

Well-Ahead Louisiana looks for businesses to become designated WellSpots, which means these employers put the wellness of their employees first. There are multiple worksite benchmarks, including:

-A smoke-free or tobacco-free policy

-Promotion of the Louisiana Tobacco Quitline

-Tobacco Cessation Coverage in Health Insurance Plan

-Designation as a Breastfeedingfriendly Workplace

-Healthy Lifestyle, Living and Workplace Online Tools

-Healthy Staff Meetings

-Healthy Vending Machine Options

-Free Worksite Wellness Programs

In addition, workplaces should encourage employees to follow the 5-2-1-0 rule daily: five servings of vegetables or more, two hours of screen time or less, one hour of physical activity or more, and no sweetened drinks.

Luckily, Well-Ahead Louisiana’s goal is to help the state come back from its poor health by teaching businesses healthy options through their free program. Once a worksite has reached a certain number of benchmarks, they become a certified WellSpot.

There is also a FitNola App for those interested.

All programs are funded through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention because unhealthy eating habits and a lack of exercise can lead to a multitude of health problems. One benefit of implementing worksite wellness programs is the potential to reduce health insurance costs.

A pamphlet for Well-Ahead Louisiana states, “A healthy workforce is happier, can accomplish more in less time, and has fewer days lost to illness.” All businesses are encouraged to look into wellness programs by visiting www.wellaheadla.com, emailing WellAhead@la.gov, or calling 225-342-8938.

Tangilena Now

P.O. Box 698
Amite, LA 70422
Phone: 985-748-7156
Fax: 985-748-7104