March 4, 2013

Free weight loss help for LLUH employees

Employee wellness encompasses a wide variety of activities made accessible and enjoyable, aimed at helping employees live and feel better.

According to a recent ABC “20/20” report, approximately 100 million people in the United States spend around $20 billion each year trying to lose weight. Loma Linda University Health (LLUH) employees can receive four months of top-quality weight loss help that ultimately costs them nothing.

“Loma Linda University Health employees who are covered by risk management can take part in a four-month personalized weight loss program,” says Olivia Moses, DrPH, wellness program administrator and assistant clinical professor of health promotion and education, LLU School of Public Health. “If they follow through to the end, they will receive a full reimbursement for small weekly commitment costs to help them complete it.”

The program is free to employees who complete their individually customized programs. The small commitment fees aren’t meant to cover the costs for the wellness services provided. Their only purpose is to keep employees committed and motivated to complete the program.

The Living Whole Employee Wellness Program, part of the LLUH department of Risk Management, has headed up a campus-wide push toward improved employee wellness for a number of years. The “Say N.O.W.” program—or “Say No to Over Weight”—was recently developed to help those among the 14,000-plus LLUH employees who are struggling to lose weight.

“As employees, we feel better, work better, and are far more productive when we are taking care of our health,” Dr. Moses points out. “Our organization was founded on a strong health message and it is the Living Whole Employee Wellness Program’s goal to provide various opportunities and resources to help employees take care of themselves.”

How does the Say NOW program work? An employee picks up the phone and calls (909) 651-4007 to begin the enrollment process.

A confidential health risk assessment is completed and the employee sits down with a Living Whole dietitian to talk over options.

Based on the conversation, the dietitian refers the employee to one of five classes: “Why Weight?” through the Living Whole Employee Wellness Program; “Lean Choices,” through the LLU Center for Health Promotion; “Activity N.O.W.” through LLU Drayson Center; “The Solution,” through Lite Weights, a Redlands-based organization; or “Take Shape for Life,” also through the Center for Health Promotion.

Upon completing one of these weekly classes, the employee returns for a final exit assessment interview with the Living Whole program. Commitment fee receipts are turned over and the employee receives full reimbursement.

“Weight challenges are often intensely personal,” notes Dr. Moses. “We take extreme care to help employees feel comfortable and plan a program that fits their personal needs and struggles.

While the Say NOW program is exclusively for full-time employees covered under the LLUH department of Risk Management, all of the classes mentioned are available to family members and friends for the regular fees.

“Our goal is to assist every employee in his or her walk toward living whole,” concludes Dr. Moses. “We want to create a non-judgmental environment where employees feel supported and empowered.” She adds, “It’s not about guilt or simple weight loss; it’s about transforming our entire life for the better.”