Highmark Wellness Program


I visited Highmark in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania this past week to speak to their employees about nutrition. They are starting their “One Ton Challenge” in which employees are able to have meal plans analyzed, track their calories and make weight loss goals. This is a 10-week challenge and at the end of it, they are hoping to collectively lose one ton. Impressive to me is the fact that this challenge is during the holiday season. I did 4 – 2 hour sessions and each employee was invited to attend (whether in person, at a remote site or through the internet) on work time as part of “training”.
As I toured their facilities and learned about their wellness program, I realized that they make it really hard to be unhealthy while at work. All employees have access to the fitness center. And by fitness center I really mean their gym. They had numerous cardio machines, weight circuits, spin bikes, yoga and pilates classes…and the list goes on. They have locker rooms with full showers and lockers and each employee is given a towel, soap, shampoo and conditioner to encourage them to make time for exercise during their workday. Their cafeteria and food court has numerous healthy choices with colorful fruits and veggies, whole grain and lean protein options in abundance.
I don’t know that I said anything new: eat fruits and veggies, whole grains, lean proteins, watch portions, eat balanced consistent meals and focus on a lifestyle instead of a diet. But a lot of times, especially in a society that is used to fast food and convenience, when you tell people to “eat healthy” it is too intimidating, overwhelming and daunting. I hope the employees saw that eating healthy is accessible and felt confident that they can make a healthy lifestyle for themselves. It was a pleasure to be a part of Highmark’s wellness program and to meet their employees. Thank you to Highmark for the invitation!!
And…on a personal note, I fell in love with the beautiful city of Pittsburgh. My husband and son, being the sports fanatics that they are, were quite jealous that I saw Heinz field and PNC stadium. What a great experience all around!
Emily Fonnesbeck RD,CD