City staying healthy

New committee using resources to keep employees fit

By Chris Berendt -

The City of Clinton sought to educate its employees about healthy living habits and the results are paying off, with one-third of the city’s workforce already participating in regular health assessments since a Healthy Lifestyle Program began in July 2015.

An employee-organized Healthy Lifestyle Committee was formed last summer. At that time, the city had 125 full-time and 30 permanent part-time employees, totaling 155.

“We have had approximately one-third of our workforce participate in the health assessments, which include biometric readings,” said Lisa Carter, the city’s Human Resources director. “We have also hosted one Lunch and Learn on nutrition and have another scheduled on exercise, with plans to have several more this fiscal year.”

She updated City Council about the endeavor at a meeting earlier this month.

At the meeting, she introduced many of the committee’s members, including City engineer Russell Byrd; Athletics program director David Wall; Linda Harrington, payroll and benefits technician for Finance/HR; Belinda Parker, senior administrative specialist for the Clinton Police Department; and Firefighter Clark Strickland.

“They are volunteers,” Carter said. “All of these employees work for the city’s citizens. They are very dedicated to the city and they are very much intricate parts of the city employment and the purpose of why we are here. They volunteer their time to participate in this program to make it work.”

The first health assessment took place in September, during which nearly half the city’s full-time employment participated, along with some City Council members. That assessment included a height, weight, blood sugar and cholesterol biometric profile that employees were able to use to measure their progress.

“That’s the main purpose behind the whole program — getting them involved, wanting everyone to participate,” Carter noted. “When you have a group together that is working toward that, you are able to achieve things just like the city does with other projects.”

The Lunch and Learn session on nutrition was attended by approximately 70 employees, who received assistance in realizing the importance of food content and portion intake. This Thursday, Jan. 28, exercise will be the main topic.

Throughout the process many organizations have “shared their expertise on wellness,” Carter shared.

Among those providing resources toward the effort are: Cornerstone EAP, Graybar Chiropractic, Lemon Sprouts, Med First Occupational Medicine, Advanced Physical Therapy, Group Benefits, First Carolina Care, Sampson County Health Dept., N.C. Cooperative Extension Office, Herbal Life, Sampson Regional Medical Center, The Center for Health & Wellness, Clinton Dentistry.

“All of these companies have helped us to engage in this Healthy Lifestyle program,” said Carter. “Our main purpose is to influence wellness lifestyles that will affect our mind, body and soul and have fun in doing it. The majority of time, if you engage employees in doing something that is fun and does not actually seem like work, you get them more involved and they want to do it.”

Carter expressed her thanks to Council for their blessing in implementing the program. Council members were given “fit kits,” lunch bags containing a thermos and a pedometer

“You had a vision to commit to the city’s employees and enhance their lives as city employees,” Carter remarked. “The investment of time and resources have helped us to develop this and maintain a Healthy Lifestyle program.”

“This is above and beyond the call of duty,” said Mayor Lew Starling of the effort. “It’s a wonderful program.”

Reach Managing Editor Chris Berendt at 910-249-4616. Follow the paper on twitter @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.

New committee using resources to keep employees fit

By Chris Berendt

Reach Managing Editor Chris Berendt at 910-249-4616. Follow the paper on twitter @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.

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