A Healthier State House Wraps Up Inaugural Session
Kicking off the 2016 legislative session was the inaugural A Healthier State House campaign with the goal of making the State House a healthier place to work, govern and visit. Due to the growing prevalence and negative health impacts of physical inactivity, the program focused on fitness but also included elements of nutrition and achieving a healthy weight. The evidence-based strategies of Working Well were scaled to fit the dynamic of the State House. Through services provided by a network of partners, individual resources were available as well as organizational assistance so healthier choices were easier choices. Thanks to the energetic championing of Rep. Neal Collins, nearly 200 legislators, lobbyists and staff engaged in an effort to better their own health, leading SC by example.
A Healthier State House ran through the 2016 session and included baseline and follow-up labs and biometric measurements thanks to Palmetto Health, Providence Health, and Hilton Head Hospital. Fitbit and the YMCA stepped up to support physical activity through discounted Fitbits and YMCA memberships, and Best Self Fitness provided weekly boot camp and yoga classes on the State House grounds. Healthier food options like lean meats and vegetables were incorporated into meals and nutrition assistance was offered through an “ask the dietitian” email connection.
Initial measures showed low physical activity, poor food choices, elevated total cholesterol, LDL, and triglycerides. The percent of legislators with BMIs of overweight/obese was greater than two-thirds of the state average. After only one day, increased stair use and extra walks around the grounds were reported. By the end of session, average daily steps increased from 1,500 steps per day to 9,000 per day for the entire group with legislators averaging more than 10,000 steps per day.
Eating smarter and moving more helped legislators lose 98 pounds and bring 18% of BMIs back into a healthy range. Of those who didn’t see weight reduction, many maintained their weight, which is an accomplishment considering weight gain during session was the reported norm. A total of 31 inches were lost around the waist and decreases in total cholesterol, LDL, and triglycerides were seen.
Congratulations to all participants on this very exciting progress in just a few short months. It’s not over though—planning for bigger, better things next session such as a State House walking trail and distribution of local support resources will be happening in the next few months. We’re excited for A Healthier State House 2017!
- 07-27-2016 02:43 (EDT)