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Health Secretary Recognizes Wellness Initiatives in Luzerne County During National Public Health Week
Date:4/8/2009

HARRISBURG, Pa., April 8 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Secretary of Health Everette James visited Luzerne County today to applaud Wesley Village Retirement Community in Pittston and other local businesses for working to implement worksite wellness programs as part of the Department of Health's Steps to a Healthier PA program.

"In Pennsylvania, chronic diseases -- many of which can be prevented -- account for nearly 80 percent of all health care expenditures," said Secretary James. "Organized wellness programs that focus on prevention improve productivity and drive down health care costs. We applaud the employers in Luzerne County who are making employee health a priority by implementing worksite wellness programs."

Wesley Village used the Secretary's visit to announce plans for a wellness program for employees. The program will likely include a walking club, on-site screenings, an on-site farmers market, and healthier food choices in the cafeteria.

Secretary James also took part in a discussion on the structure and benefits of employer-based wellness programs with representatives from Wesley Village, Martz Trailways, Kings College and the MotorWorld Group, which have also implemented employee wellness programs.

So far, 28 Luzerne county businesses have participated in the worksite wellness initiative and implemented more than 100 changes in workplaces as part of the Steps to a Healthier PA program.

Steps to a Healthier PA works with communities in Tioga, Fayette, and Luzerne counties to encourage residents to reduce health risks associated with diabetes, asthma, obesity and other chronic diseases. Through the program, the Department of Health provides funding, training, and technical assistance to encourage communities to implement new programs to improve the health of its citizens. It is funded by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In addition,
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SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Health
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