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CO Health Foundation Creates Healthy Workplace

Written for the Web by CBS4 Special Projects Producer Libby Smith
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(credit: CBS)

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The healthy environment is apparent from the moment you walk through the door at the Colorado Health Foundation. Bowls of fresh fruit sit right at the front desk.

“Healthy employees are happy employees, and we’ve really seen that come to fruition here,” said Emma Blackwell, Worksite Wellness Coordinator at the Colorado Health Foundation.

About a year-and-half ago, the Foundation started developing new policies aimed at making healthier employees.

“We do a yearly reimbursement for our employees that’s available to them, that’s $300 a year. They can use that for a gym classes, they can use it for exercise equipment, they can use it for anything that’s going to add value to their health and wellness,” Blackwell explained.

The employee frig is stocked with free healthy drinks including water, juice, tea. In one of the unused offices, the Foundation set up a mini-gym, complete with a small stair stepper, exercise mats, resistance bands, and even fitness video games. A healthy change that cost less than $10,000.

“I use the Wii a lot…Wii Fit. There’s some fun games, tennis, bowling and a few other things,” said Peter Manetta, CRM Specialist.

Manetta says he usually uses the gym during his lunch hour. He says that it provides any level of work out you want.

“It’s an easy break from the day and really it doesn’t give you any excuses if it’s right next door,” Manetta told CBS4.

“The stair stepper is much harder than the one I use at the gym,” said Gretchen Colbert, Asst. Controller.

Colbert welcomes the chance to get away from her desk for a few minutes. Her mostly sedentary job tires her to her computer most of the day. She also takes advantage of weekly yoga classes, and wears a pedometer she got from the Foundation. With all the healthy changes at her workplace, Colbert has lost 20 pounds, but more importantly she feels better.

“I’m just more aware of what I need to do for my health, both physically and eating wise,” she explained.

“I notice personally that it has made a huge change in my life. I now think about my health on a daily basis,” added Blackwell.

The Colorado Health Foundation will eventually track the benefits of its changes through hard data. Right now, they’re hearing anecdotally from employees that they’re happy, more energized, and improving their health numbers with the help of these new policies.

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