(This is Part 1 of a two-part series on Get Fit Get Healthy.)
GOSHEN — Getting healthy can be hard. It involves deciding to make healthier choices every day and fighting that inner voice whining to eat an entire bag of potato chips.
Fortunately, through Goshen Health's Business Health Advantage Get Fit Get Healthy program, there’s a voice urging encouragement.
Get Fit Get Healthy partners with workplaces to help their employees become healthier and more active. It's a benefit to not only the employee, but the company as well, according to Goshen Health.
One of those employers, Entech Inc., Middlebury, has more than 100 employees and their spouses involved in the program. Entech produces all sizes of micronized rubber powder and crumb rubber powder.
Chief Financial Officer Matt Troyer said, “Our goal is to have a healthier work force and really to help people be able to do that through thinking about lifestyle. And with ... Get Fit Get Healthy, you get individual coaching on living a healthy lifestyle between diet and exercise.”
In doing this type of program, which is not a contest but a way to give people the tools for lifelong health, the culture of the workplace changes. Get Fit Get Healthy, in working with companies, provides access to care services outside of coming to work every day.
“One thing we saw, especially from Entech, was their commitment to being a wellness warrior. A lot of companies will not involve spouses,” Joel Conrad, director of Get Fit Get Healthy, said.
"They’ve also done so many different things, like taking barriers away from people being able to access care. So they’ve implemented another program called Direct Care, which is a partnership with a provider office — physicians’ offices — that are close to them that allows access to being seen by the physician a lot easier. They’ve even brought in providers on site to do physicals for the drivers and things like that. So, it’s more than just your typical worksite wellness. It is truly altering a culture to provide access to care and additional services outside of just coming to work every day.”
That’s why Entech recently received the Get Fit Get Healthy’s Wellness Warrior Award during a banquet recognizing companies and individuals for their participation.
Troyer explained that about five or six years ago, Entech CEO Lavon Detweiler heard about the program and thought it would be really interesting to see what would happen if the company started Get Fit Get Healthy.
Entech employees have been participating every year since then.
Each September, employees have their blood drawn and tests are done for a variety of standard health metrics, including cholesterol. Their waist circumference is checked, along with blood pressure. Challenges are created for employees, there is education and they are paired with a coach. The screening is the kick-off point and then Get Fit Get Healthy staff takes the aggregate information and works with the company’s team to develop a plan for the year and what’s going to best fit them, Conrad said.
“There is nothing cookie cutter about what Entech and Jomar (another participating company in Middlebury) do,” Conrad said chuckling.
“That’s true,” Troyer said.
Matt Cripe, direct care liaison and account coordinator for the Entech group, said, “There are always new, innovative ideas and Entech is in support of those.” Buy-in is from the top to the bottom, he said, and that is the only way to make this type of program work.
Troyer said there are a number of initiatives. Throughout 2018 there were several challenges they posed to participants, and if they were successful, a reward like a $25 gift card could be given. During 2018, Entech did a water challenge (drinking a certain minimum ounces of water each day for a month), a stretching challenge (stretching for so many minutes a day for about a month), and a weight challenge (a holiday weight challenge where September through January participants would maintain or lose weight).
In the end, the hope is employees and their families will embrace healthier lifestyles, which in the end benefits the company with less absenteeism and lower health insurance costs.
Cripe said he knows one of the company’s truck drivers who now puts his bicycle on the back of his truck so that wherever he travels, he can go bike riding.
“We do hear stories like that,” he said.
Troyer added another story of two Jomar employees, one living in Millersburg and one in Goshen, who started biking to work.
“One more thing I would say,” Troyer said, “going back to the results that we’ve seen from the program — when we look at, of course we’re not able to look at specific individuals and their health, but you know we get the global results or the general results of our testing — there have been positive results or positive improvements in blood pressure and cholesterol. The metrics, I guess you’d say, that we look at have definitely gotten better over the last three or four years as we’ve gotten further and further into the wellness program with Get Fit Get Healthy.”
Companies interested in more information about Get Fit Get Healthy can visit http://businesshealthadvantage.com/ or call 574-535-9166.
Sheila Selman is regional editor/digital content editor for The Goshen News. Contact her at 574-533-2151, ext. 311, at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Twitter at @sselman_TGN or on Facebook at Sheila Selman Journalist.