Local Group Focuses on Obesity Issue

A group of New London community and business leaders are teaming up to encourage area employers to participate in a new Workplace Wellness Initiative.

John Solberg, executive director, at Rawhide Boys Ranch is the chairman of the group, which is one of several new initiatives that have been launched from the ThedaCare New London Community Health Action Team, which was launched in 2012 to address local health issues. “Obesity is the first major issue the New London CHAT team determined to focus on,” Solberg stated.

The New London Workplace Wellness Initiative group seeks to encourage and support local employers in providing wellness initiatives in their individual workplaces. “Businesses sometimes don’t understand how to start and sustain an effective wellness program without assistance,” said Solberg, noting that employers have the desire but often “wellness falls to the bottom of the priority list. They lack an internal expert, and don’t know the return on investment and how to allocate the resources.”

Solberg said the Workplace Wellness Initiative will be a source of best practice, collaboration and support among peer businesses to navigate the process. Committee members include representatives from Hillshire, the New London School District, New London Parks and Recreation, Fox West YMCA-Greenville, Waupaca County Extension Office, New London and Clintonville Chambers and ThedaCare.

The committee is meeting to determine best practice in order to introduce to area businesses in the coming months. “This committee was initiated through the Obesity Plunge in New London and we feel one way to achieve progress around conquering obesity is to engage employers and their employees to create effective wellness programs,” stated Solberg.

“The New London Workplace Wellness group is focused on encouraging employers of all sizes to collaborate on workplace wellness,” said Solberg, noting the programs would aim to engage small, medium and large employers to collaborate on workplace wellness to achieve “affordable, sustainable workplace programs that achieve a return on investment.” 

They hope to help business create benchmarks that help their employees and organizations understand individual wellness objectives in order to measure their success.  Personal health assessments (PHA) such as biometric screenings, lifestyle score and individual need and interest surveys provide meaningful ways to measure individual and corporate progress. “Once employees identify health issues then employers can present initiatives that start to address those problems in effective ways,” Solberg said.

For more information, or to become involved in the New London Workplace Wellness Initiative, contact John Solberg at (920) 531-2500 or Kaye Thompson with ThedaCare at (920) 830-5949.