WASHINGTON, Jan. 30, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The American Beverage Foundation for a Healthy America (ABFHA) today announced that, with the support of a $5 million "Employee Wellness Challenge" grant, the cities of Chicago and San Antonio have made significant strides in helping their municipal employees improve their health and wellness. Announced in October 2012, the Foundation grant was provided to support the two cities' efforts to encourage municipal employee participation in wellness programs. After a nearly one year competition, which ran from January through early December 2013, the City of Chicago has won the challenge with its "Chicago Lives Healthy" program.
"In our eyes, both cities are winners in this competition," said Susan K. Neely, president and chair of ABFHA, and president and CEO of the American Beverage Association. "ABFHA is proud to continue its work to support efforts such as these that contribute to the health of local communities."
As part of the Wellness Challenge, the City of Chicago had 91 percent of its employees complete biometric screenings, which were made available at Walgreens pharmacies at numerous locations throughout the Chicagoland area.
"City employees in Chicago and San Antonio have taken a major step towards taking control of their health and well-being," said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. "The Chicago Lives Healthy wellness program is a national model for creating a healthier workforce while controlling health care costs and this friendly competition with San Antonio highlights simple ways everyone can create a better quality of life for themselves and their families."
San Antonio also had unprecedented participation in its employee wellness program. Fifty-seven percent of its employees completed biometric screenings, well surpassing the City's previous 20 percent participation rates.
"Through this competition, we have increased employee participation in the City of San Antonio's wellness programs to record levels," said Mayor Julián Castro. "We look forward to continuing the momentum by expanding our wellness offerings and improving the lives of our employees and their families."
"Our City team has made great strides this year with our Employee Wellness Program," added San Antonio City Manager Sheryl Sculley. "Our initiatives are motivating City employees to be more active and learn about their personal health. We look forward to building on this success."
The first installment of the grant was provided at the onset of the "Employee Wellness Challenge," with the remaining funds to be dispersed upon its completion. Both cities provided the Foundation with independently certified results of their programs. The initial grant funds were used for a range of wellness efforts, including biometric screenings, blood pressure training, free blood pressure monitors and education materials.
The second installment of the grant will be used by the cities to build upon these efforts. The City of Chicago, which will receive $2.5 million, intends to: extend its employee convenience screenings beyond Walgreens to PSM and American Healthways; provide blood pressure training at Rush University Medical Center; and develop additional wellness education programs and materials. The City of San Antonio, which will receive $1.5 million, is currently developing plans to use these funds, which may include an employee weight management program, enhanced wellness initiatives and a fitness facility.
The American Beverage Foundation for a Healthy America (www.beveragefoundation.org) seeks to make a significant contribution to the health of local communities by providing grants to support charitable programs at community organizations that work to advance both the physical health of their local citizens and the environmental health of their communities. Since its inception, the Foundation has supported a number of programs, including: a multi-year grant to the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia for expansion of its childhood obesity prevention and research programs; grants to promote nutrition and health initiatives to more than 25 organizations in 19 states through its State Association/Community Organization Grant Program; and funding for an environmental grant to increase recycling in Massachusetts. The Foundation is a 501(c)(3) created and funded by America's non-alcoholic beverage industry and is a reflection of the industry's long-standing tradition of giving back to communities.
SOURCE American Beverage Foundation for a Healthy America (ABFHA)