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Take It To Heart Challenge

Gold Standard  Employer: Baptist Health South Florida

The mission of Wellness Advantage, the Baptist Health South Florida employee wellness program, is to have the healthiest workforce in America. Employees are encouraged to take responsibility for their health through services and programs offered through the system.

The “Take it to Heart Challenge” is a month-long employee wellness program that encourages employees to adopt a healthy lifestyle with the emphasis on taking preventative care of their personal health and the health of their loved ones. The challenge is held throughout all of the Baptist healthcare system during the month of February coinciding with American Heart Month.

This Health Education and Health promotion e-challenge focuses on high blood pressure; one of the key risk factors involved with heart disease. Employees are encouraged and educated on taking preventative action.

Challenge participants are given cards to track their blood pressure readings throughout the month. They are encouraged to accomplish weekly activities which include recommendations for exercise, nutrition and sleep. During the first week, participants are given a walking challenge and asked to increase the duration of their daily activity by an additional 5 minutes. During the second week, participants are provided with a daily heart healthy recipe along with healthy eating tips. Nutritional tips include switching white for brown rice, eating half a cup of fruit and at least one cup of vegetables for dinner and making water the beverage of choice. During the third week, participants are given the challenge of optimizing sleeping habits, which includes turning off electronic screens at least a half hour before sleep, developing a pre-bedtime ritual, and avoiding coffee after 3:00pm. During the last week, participants are given the challenge to reduce bad habits such as drinking sugary beverages, and trying to incorporate exercise routines during commercial breaks while watching television.

The intent of the weekly challenges is for participants to adopt behavior change by taking steps to make small habitual changes throughout the month.  Communication on heart healthy facts are sent by e-mail to participants every week.

Participants are also encouraged to share their experiences on Yammer, an internal social media platform, to engage and offer support to one another.  The effectiveness of the program is measured by the number of participants registered and with a post program survey.