Gov Career

By Phil Piemonte

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Are you a healthy fed?

If you are like a lot of American workers, you spend a lot of time behind a desk. That means that for eight hours a day, your primary source of exercise may well be walking to the copier or coffee machine.

Not the best routine for your health.

The federal government, like many other employers, sees a lot of benefit (lower healthcare costs, fewer absences due to health problems, etc.) in launching programs that help employees adopt a healthier lifestyle.

That’s why last week OPM—along with the Department of Interior and the General Services Administration—cooperatively debuted WellnessWorks, a pilot program aimed at encouraging a healthier lifestyle among the 5,000 employees from the three agencies who share a common “work-life” campus in D.C.

The initiative offers includes a risk assessment, biometric testing, individualized coaching, and programs to encourage healthy behaviors like weight management classes, exercise, tobacco cessation, and chronic disease management.

(Note: While the D.C. area is home to a lot of feds, and probably is a good place to run a pilot program, feds in D.C. might be in a litle better shape than most: The Washington, D.C., metro area has been ranked as America’s fittest city three years in a row in something called the American Fitness Index.)

So, all you desk-sitters out there—how does your routine stack up? How do you get around your sedentary job? Bike to work? Walk at lunch?

And how much is your agency helping in your effort to stay fit and healthy?

Posted by Phil Piemonte on Oct 05, 2010 at 4:02 PM


Reader comments

Thu, Oct 7, 2010

Good idea. But why does OPM, GSA, etc introduce and give these programs to Washington people? There are many other places/states where government employees work. We have no incentives or time off in my office that promotes healthier living programs. Some take a 15-minute break/walk during the day. I sit all day long; my front desk job doesn't allow me to leave unless it's during my 30 minute lunch; then I have to forgo eating.

Wed, Oct 6, 2010 VA Beach

Hard to do at lunch, and add extra time at the end of the day. can't add any more in the morning. On a military base, you see lots of jogging, etc. but there is no official 'push' for a regular work out regimen.
Such is life!

Wed, Oct 6, 2010 SharRon Y. Webb DFAS-CL

Our facility ran a "Biggest Loser" competition as a pilot program for six weeks. It was EXCELLENT. They started with the first 100 volunteers and monitored them on a weekly basis, offering weekly walking, high powered exercise in the mornings before work and an hour workout during the lunch ban once a week. There were internet sites to monitor our food intake and weekly weigh-ins. The main goal was to modify our behavior on a long-term basis for optimal health. We had very good results. There was an overall weight loss of roughly 600 lbs. Personally, I lost 8 lbs. The program is on-going with the second 100 volunteers. Perhaps other agencies can use this as a model.

Wed, Oct 6, 2010

I am a frontliner. My agency gives lip service to making healthier employees and some people do take advantage of the programs offered, biking to work, exercising for 3 hrs a week during work hours. The reality for the people in positions like mine is there is no one to back up the phones or act in the customer service area. This leaves me, as a collection officer solely responsible. People issue accountable property in my name which isn't even allowed. I've even taken heat about leaving for 30 minutes for lunch to let my dogs out and get something to eat. Healthcare, haircuts, licensing vehicles, exercise, school functions, etc, has to come in second to keep the office open. I haven't even been out to see the land our agency administers. Recently the region made a move to back up my position but managers are ignoring it. They apparently see no real need to provide us with the same benefits they enjoy. We've been living like this, why change things now? I can see their point but it is disheartening to be of so little value to those we serve.

Wed, Oct 6, 2010

The agency has a program SSA Commit To Be Fit, which allows for you to track your exercise progress on line for 30 days other than that there is no agency events and your health is pretty up left up to you, some employee do walk 15 minutes 3 times a day for a total of 45 minutes of walking during breaks and lunch but that is the most any do. So I would say we do not compare very well with those in the Washington DC Area.

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