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WELLNESS
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Walk this way

A local firm’s successful employee-wellness program was created from its partnership with Johns Hopkins HealthCare.

By Linda MelonePublished: February 01, 2013

Keeping employees healthy produces a win-win situation with companies and staff: Healthy employees take fewer sick days, which ultimately saves a firm’s bottom line, and employees enjoy a better quality of life and are more productive.
   
Irvine-based iCount Wellness, a division of WalkStyles Inc., is promoting healthier habits by teaming up with Johns Hopkins HealthCare LLC to support its employees. The two-year agreement is among the first corporate-wellness programs created through a health information licensing agreement with Johns Hopkins.
   
“We work with companies and help them engage their employees through iCount Wellness,” says Sue Parks, CEO of WalkStyles. “This makes it easy for employees to set and achieve goals in various areas. We’re working with the Johns Hopkins medical professionals to provide timely resources for their client members.”
   
Through the program, employees can stay active through a variety of fun, challenging activities, including “virtually climbing” the top 10 highest peaks in the world and walking across the ocean. Participation can be done online and tracked via smartphone, Parks says.
   
“It’s all very simple and user friendly. It doesn’t matter if [an employee is] a biker, a runner or simply enjoys doing housework as an activity; it all counts toward the company’s total goals.”
   
In addition, the program’s nutrition guide provides participants with an ongoing calorie counter and a sodium tracker.
   
“People can set up their personal physical and mental goals, such as performing 10 pushups, doing good deeds, making sure to laugh and so forth,” Parks says.
   
A typical health-promoting cycle consists of 10 weeks.
   
Health-related issues cost billions of dollars in lost productivity in the U.S. annually, and corporate-wellness programs can save companies thousands each year. Seventy percent of diseases are due to inactive lifestyles, and programs such as iCount Wellness can make a big difference.
   
“We help people find their own thing that they can do every day, whether it’s walking with their loved one or creating their own walking or biking group,” Parks says. “It’s not just about losing weight; it’s about taking care of yourself.” walkstyles.com



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Comment at 4/16/2013