LHA Launches Statewide Employee Wellness Campaign

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media , January 30, 2012

They're getting serious about wellness down on the bayou.

The Louisiana Hospital Association this month launched a workplace wellness initiative involving more than 100 hospitals across the Pelican State. The Smart Choices, Better Health Hospital Campaign will be implemented over the next three years, focusing first on promoting nutrition, exercise and weight loss, and then turning the emphasis toward smoking cessation.

The need is definitely there. The Trust for America's Health reports that Louisiana was the fifth-fattest state in 2011 because 31.6% of the adult population is obese, as are 20.7% of children. In addition, 10.7% of the population has diabetes. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ranks Louisiana No. 10 among states in tobacco use.

"The health status statistics in Louisiana are not wonderful. Some of us are tired of seeing our state close to the bottom of the lists on health status," LHA President and CEO John Matessino tells HealthLeaders Media.

"It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that if we are going to try to improve health in this country we are going to have to do things to keep the costs of healthcare down. We are spending so much money on healthcare in this country that supports the costs of bad health practices of people," he says.

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