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For Release: February 23, 2012 - Pamela Williams, Office of Communications - 405/271-5601

Free Trainings Offered to Help Businesses Curb Employee Health Care Costs

The Oklahoma State Department of Health is offering free worksite wellness training for businesses in the state that could help curb employee health care costs. The Make It Your Business curriculum is designed to help Oklahoma businesses reach their employees with ways to eat better, move more and be tobacco free.  Any business, big or small, is invited to attend one of the upcoming trainings in their area to learn how to integrate physical activity, nutrition, and tobacco cessation policies and practices into their businesses. Employee obesity costs employers $2,485 annually per employee. Employee tobacco use costs businesses $4,212 each year in lost productivity and health-related expenses per employee.

“TheMake It Your Business curriculum provides an easy-to-use toolkit with practical ideas businesses can implement to create their own worksite wellness programs and policies at little to no cost,” said State Health Commissioner Dr. Terry Cline.

Make It Your Business course topics include methods that will improve employee morale, reduce the number of medical claims filed by employees, and reduce sick days taken by employees. Other topics include information on increasing employee productivity, enhancing the work environment, and attracting new employees.

“This curriculum will also help businesses become an Oklahoma Certified Healthy Business,” said Keith Reed, director, Center for the Advancement of Wellness at the Oklahoma State Department of Health. To be certified, businesses must meet specific criteria including providing employee health screenings, workplace health and nutrition education, opportunities for physical exercise activities, management support for healthy workplace environments, tobacco use prevention activities, and sharing wellness activities within their respective communities.

Upcoming Make It Your Business trainings are scheduled:

  • Tuesday, March 6, from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Kiamichi Technology Center in Atoka
  • Tuesday, April 3, from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Kiamichi Technology Center  in Poteau
  • Thursday, May 3, from 9 a.m. to  12 p.m. at the Ardmore Convention Center in Ardmore

For more information on the Make It Your Business curriculum or to register for a training, visit www.ok.gov/strongandhealthy/Tools_for_Businesses/Make_It_Your_Business/index.html, or email Kaylee Johnson, health educator, Center for the Advancement of Wellness, at KayleeJ@health.ok.gov.

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