Healthy Programs at Your Place of Worship
Faith-based organizations are natural centers for spiritual, emotional and physical wellness. Because of this, they are in a unique position to make a real difference in the health of their staff, volunteers and congregations by establishing a culture of wellness. That’s why Well-Ahead Louisiana encourages every faith-based organization to help make the healthy choice by becoming a WellSpot.
By implementing changes to improve the health of your employees and volunteers through our WellSpot Designation program, faith-based organizations can positively impact the health of your congregation and community. We provide the resources and tools you need to encourage healthy habits like physical activity, healthy eating, stress management and quitting tobacco.
Pastor James Morrise at Rose Hill Church of Port Allen is one of the many faith leaders in Louisiana who has taken the lead in moving the health of his community forward. Learn more about how James implemented healthy changes at his church to become a WellSpot. Like James, change can begin with you—take the lead in your community today!
Apply for the Worksite Wellness Mini-Grant!
Want to implement or expand your worksite wellness program? Eligible WellSpots can receive up to $3,000 to make sustainable changes that support employee health and wellbeing at their worksite.
Level-up Your Faith-Based Organization
Faith-based organizations that meet certain benchmarks can be designated as a Level 1, 2 or 3 WellSpot, with Level 1 being the highest.
- One organizational practice
- Three additional benchmarks of choice
- Smoke-free policy
- One organizational practice
- Congregational wellness program
- Six additional benchmarks of choice
- Tobacco-free policy
- All benchmarks met
WellSpot Benchmarks for a Healthier Congregation
Well-Ahead is here to help faith-based organizations be leaders by becoming a WellSpot. When you implement these evidence-based benchmarks, you will improve the health of your staff, volunteers and congregation and move Louisiana’s health forward!
Comprehensive Smoke-Free Policy
Because approximately 20% of the nation’s adult workforce still smokes cigarettes, Well-Ahead encourages every faith-based organization to be a leader in helping Louisiana geaux tobacco-free. The first step is implementing our Smoke-Free Policy benchmark. It’s an effective way to reduce exposure to smoke at your organization and the danger it presents to your staff and volunteers.
A Smoke-Free Policy prohibits smoking (including the use of electronic smoking devices) on your organization’s property, including parking lots and company vehicles. For leased properties, the policy must cover 25 feet from each entry point of the facility.
Copy of policy.
Comprehensive Tobacco-Free Policy
By implementing a Tobacco-Free Policy, you can reduce tobacco use and secondhand smoke exposure in the workplace and improve the health of employees and volunteers.
A Tobacco-Free Policy prohibits the use of all forms of tobacco products on your organization’s property, including parking lots and company vehicles. For leased properties, the policy must cover 25 feet from each entry point of the facility.
Copy of policy.
Promotion of Quit With Us, Louisiana or Another Approved Cessation Service Organization
By promoting free cessation services to your employees, you are doing your part to help fight the leading cause of preventable death and the source of many chronic diseases and conditions that cause long-term suffering.1,2
You can promote your in-house cessation programs (if applicable) or Quit With Us, Louisiana. This free cessation resource links individuals who want to quit using tobacco with trained specialists through phone counseling, web support or both.
Written description or pictures of ways in which Quit With Us, Louisiana or other service is promoted to employees.
Participation in the Louisiana Breastfeeding Coalition’s Breastfeeding Welcome Here Campaign
Some Faith-Based Organizations may not be able to implement the Breastfeeding Friendly Workplace benchmark but would still like to promote breastfeeding. If this applies to your organization, you can still participate in the Louisiana Breastfeeding Coalition’s Breastfeeding Welcome Here Campaign. To meet this benchmark, your organization signs a pledge to display a window cling to show support for a mother’s right to breastfeed anytime, anywhere.
Copy of signed pledge form, picture of campaign poster and/or window cling, or verification with the Louisiana Breastfeeding Coalition.
Worksite Wellness Program—Beginning Implementation
A worksite wellness program is an employee-centered approach to improving health outcomes, healthy behaviors, productivity and morale in the workplace. Offering wellness activities allows your employees to improve their health, reduce their risk of chronic disease and lower their healthcare costs, which can lead to increased productivity and profit.
Beginning Implementation starts with management support, designating a program coordinator and completing an employee assessment.
Letter from management indicating support for a worksite wellness program. Name of the designated staff person to lead the program. Brief description of worksite/employee assessments planned, in progress, or completed.
Worksite Wellness Program—Partial Implementation
Once the employee assessment phase has been completed, you can move on to the second worksite wellness benchmark for WellSpot designation—Partial Implementation. At this stage, the assessment results are used to develop a work plan of activities or programs to encourage healthy behaviors surrounding physical activity, nutrition, tobacco cessation and mental health.
Copy of wellness work plan or calendar of events specific to the organization, reflective of assessment results and including activity descriptions related to physical activity, nutrition, tobacco cessation and mental health.
Worksite Wellness Program—Full Implementation
Once you have developed a worksite wellness plan, continue to encourage and motivate your employees as you implement the plan. To meet the full implementation benchmark, assess and evaluate the program’s impact after one year.
Description of how annual program evaluation was conducted or copy of annual evaluation results.
Congregational Wellness Program
We can help you develop best practice strategies that support healthy eating, physical activity, mental health (including stress management) and tobacco cessation. By taking a congregation-centered approach to improving health outcomes, you can change health behaviors and reduce the risk of chronic disease in your organization. You can implement it at little to no cost to create an environment that supports healthy habits.
Implementing this benchmark begins with assessing your congregation to discover their health needs and interests. The next step is to offer activities that align with the assessment’s results.
Copy or summary of the results of the congregational needs assessment Description and copy of the programs being implemented and available to the entire congregation
At Least 50% of Vending Items in Each Snack and Beverage Machine or Provided Snack Options Meet Approved Healthy Vending Guidelines
Healthy snacking is essential to promoting wellness and providing the best nutrients for health, energy and productivity. With more than 36% of Louisiana residents considered obese, accessibility to nutritious snack options low in calories, fat, sugar and sodium can change how your employees snack and help improve their overall health.4
You can make the healthy choice the easy choice when selecting snacks and beverages for vending machines at your facility.
To meet this benchmark, at least 50% of snacks and beverages you provide to employees (including each vending machine) must meet one of the approved healthy vending guidelines provided at these links:
- NANA, AHA and GSA/HHS approved vending options
- NAMA’s Fit Pick Product List
- Ochsner Eat Fit Vending Guide
- Nemours Vending Guidelines
Inventory of vending machine or snack options from vendor (with nutritional information if available) or picture of vending machine (if nutritional information is posted on the machine).
Adoption of Nutrition-Based Healthy Vending Policy or Healthy Meeting Policy
Most people’s waking hours are spent at work, and many of those hours are spent in meetings that involve long periods of sitting. These stationary periods reduce an employee’s concentration, productivity and energy level. By implementing this benchmark, you can create a culture of health through simple changes that your employees eat well and be physically active during the workday.
To meet this benchmark, your organization must adopt and encourage a nutrition-based policy.
Copy of at least one policy that makes healthy food options more accessible.
Promotion of Self-Assessment Tools for Prediabetes and Heart Health Among Employees
By promoting self-assessment tools, you can help your employees better understand their health and reduce the risk for diabetes and heart disease. As a result, your employees will miss less work due to illness or hospitalization and have lower healthcare costs.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 108 million Americans have high blood pressure, and more than 30 million Americans have diabetes.5,6 Encourage your employees to take the self-assessments to better understand their health.
Please note that these evidence-based self-assessments have been developed by national partners and should not be used in place of a visit to a healthcare provider.
Self-Assessment Tools for Heart Health:
- My Life Check by American Heart Association
- Sample Communication to Promote Heart Health Self-Assessments
Self-Assessment Tools for Prediabetes:
Written description or pictures of ways in which the self-assessment tools are promoted.
Connect with Local Organizations to Host a National Diabetes Prevention Program (NDPP)
The National Diabetes Prevention Program is a lifestyle change program by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This scientifically proven program helps those affected with prediabetes delay or even prevent Type 2 Diabetes and the health issues—like heart disease and stroke—that often accompany it.
We encourage you to join with community organizations in the fight against diabetes. By hosting a National Diabetes Prevention Program with partners like the YMCA, you can educate communities about the dangers of a disease that impacts an estimated one in eight adults in Louisiana.7
Provide copy of program description from local organization.
Implementation of at Least One Nutrition-Based Organizational Practice
You can create settings for your congregation, staff and volunteers that encourage healthy eating habits. Dietary patterns are considered one of the main behaviors that can cause obesity, which affects nearly one in four adults in Louisiana.8
To meet this benchmark, your organization must implement one of the following practices that focus on proper nutrition:
- Partner with local farm(s) to offer fresh produce sales for the community and/or be a drop-off location for Community Supported Agriculture club(s)
- Start a community/youth garden
- Offer/coordinate nutrition classes
- Create a ‘No Sugar Zone’ for events in which sugary foods and drinks aren’t allowed
- Be a host for a USDA Summer Feeding Program
Written description of ways in which at least one nutrition-based practices is implemented.
Implementation of at Least One Physical Activity-Based Organizational Practice
You can encourage your congregation, volunteers and staff to increase their physical activity, which is key to better health. The benefits of physical activity include:
- Controlling weight
- Reducing the risk of multiple chronic diseases
- Strengthening bones and muscles
- Improving mental health and mood
- Preventing falls
- Increasing chances of living longer
Adults need at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity like brisk walking every week and two or more days of muscle-strengthening activities. Children and adolescents should participate in 60 or more minutes of physical activity each day.
Adoption of at least one of these practices will help your organization meet this benchmark:
- Launch a walking program
- Initiate a shared-use agreement
- Create a sports equipment drop-box
- Start/support a sports league
- Host/sponsor a recurring active event like a 5k, dance or fitness festival
- Create walking path
- Start a physical activity program
Written description of ways in which at least one physical activity-based practices is implemented.
Implementation of at Least One Health Education-Based Organizational Practice
You have an opportunity to provide education about chronic disease prevention and management to help your congregation, volunteers and staff live healthier lives. This is important as nearly 3 million people in Louisiana adults have at least one chronic disease, which includes heart disease, stroke, cancer, Type 2 Diabetes, obesity and arthritis.9 In addition, almost half of those adults have two or more chronic diseases, many of which share the same cause.9
By implementing this benchmark, your organization will support vital health education-based practices that promote healthy behaviors, prevent chronic disease and help move Louisiana’s health forward.
Adoption of at least one of these practices will help your organization meet this benchmark:
- Provide office space for support groups
- Offer healthy living classes
- Reduce screen time
- Promote 5-2-1-0 message
- Host chronic disease guest speakers
- Provide oral health education activities
Offer Space for Support Groups—Support groups such as AA, NA and Overeaters Anonymous give people a space to gain a sense of empowerment and control of their addiction. Provide a space in your organization for these groups to meet.
Written description of ways in which at least one health education-based practices is implemented.