WellSpot Benchmarks for Faith-Based Organizations

A Culture of Wellness

Healthy Programs at Your Place of Worship

Faith-based organizations of all types 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, the easy 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 are equipped to play a role in positively impacting 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. 

Faith-based organizations that meet certain benchmarks can be designated as a Level 1, 2 or 3 WellSpot, with Level 1 being the highest. 

Level 3

  • One organizational practice
  • Three additional benchmarks of choice

Level 2

  • Smoke-free policy
  • One organizational practice
  • Congregational wellness program
  • Six additional benchmarks of choice

Level 1

  • Tobacco-free policy
  • All benchmarks met
WellSpot Benchmarks for a Healthier Congregation

Health Standards for Faith-Based Organizations

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!

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 you can 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 properties that are leased, the policy must cover 25 feet from each entry point of the facility.

Required Documentation:
Copy of 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 properties that are leased, the policy must cover 25 feet from each entry point of the facility.

Required Documentation:
Copy of policy.

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 the Louisiana Tobacco Quitline. The Quitline is a free cessation resource that links individuals who want to quit using tobacco with trained specialists through phone counseling, web support or both.

Required Documentation:
Written description or pictures of ways in which the LA Tobacco Quitline or other service is promoted to employees.

Some Faith-Based Organizations may not be in the position to implement the Breastfeeding Friendly Workplace benchmark, but would still like to promote breastfeeding. If this applies to your organization, you have the option to participate in the Louisiana Breastfeeding Coalition’s Breastfeeding Welcome Here Campaign. To meet this benchmark, your organization signs a pledge and display a window cling to show support of a mother’s right to breastfeed anytime, anywhere.

Required Documentation:
Copy of signed pledge form, picture of campaign poster and/or window cling, or verification with the Louisiana Breastfeeding Coalition.

A worksite wellness program is an employee-centered approach to improving health outcomes, healthy behaviors, productivity and morale in the workplace. Offering wellness activities can provide your employees with the opportunity to improve their health, reduce their risk of chronic disease and lower their healthcare costs, that can lead to increased productivity and profit. 

Beginning Implementation starts with management support, designating a program coordinator and completing an employee assessment.

Required Documentation:
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.

Once the employee assessment phase has been completed, you can then move onto the second worksite wellness benchmark for WellSpot designation—Partial Implementation. At this stage, the assessment results will be used to develop a work plan of activities or programs to encourage healthy behaviors surrounding physical activity, nutrition, tobacco cessation and mental health.

Required Documentation:
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.

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, perform an assessment after one year to evaluate the impact of the program.

Required Documentation:
Description of how annual program evaluation was conducted or copy of annual evaluation results.

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.

Required Documentation:
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

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 that are low in calories, fat, sugar and sodium can change the way your employees snack and help improve their overall health.4

You can make the healthy choice the easy choice when it comes to selecting snacks and beverages for vending machines at your facility. 

In order 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

Eat Fit Vending Product List

Nemours Vending Guidelines

Required Documentation:
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).

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 have a better understanding of 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

Heart Age Predictor Using BMI by CDC

Sample Communication to Promote Heart Health Self-Assessments 

Self-Assessment Tools for Prediabetes:

Prediabetes Risk Test by CDC, AMA, ADA and Ad Council

Sample Communication to Promote Prediabetes Self-Assessment

Required Documentation:
Written description or pictures of ways in which the self-assessment tools are promoted.

The majority of people’s waking hours are spent at work, and many of those hours are spent in meetings that involve long periods of sitting. This reduces an employee’s concentration, productivity and energy level. By implementing this benchmark, you can create a culture of health through simple changes that you’re your employees eat well and be physically active during the workday. 

In order to meet this benchmark, your organization must adopt and encourage a nutrition-based policy.

Required Documentation:
Copy of at least one policy that makes healthy food options more accessible.

The National Diabetes Prevention Program is a lifestyle change program by The Center of 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 take the lead on educating communities about the dangers of a disease that impacts an estimated one in eight adults in Louisiana.7

Required Documentation:
Provide copy of program description from local organization.

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, a condition that affects nearly one in four adults in Louisiana.8

To meet this benchmark, your organization is expected to implement one of the following practices that focus on proper nutrition:

  • Partner with local farm(s) to offer fresh produce sales for 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
Required Documentation:
Written description of ways in which at least one nutrition-based practices is implemented.

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 and increasing chances of living longer. This is important as 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 organizations 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
Required Documentation:
Written description of ways in which at least one physical activity-based practices is implemented.

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 be putting vital health education-based practices into action 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
Required Documentation:
Written description of ways in which at least one health education-based practices is implemented.

You can register to become a WellSpot. Take the assessment to begin.


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Smoking-Attributable Mortality, Years of Potential Life Lost, and Productivity Losses—United States, 2000–2004. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 2008;57(45):1226–8. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5745a3.htm

2 American Lung Association’s State of Tobacco Control Report for Louisiana. Retrieved from: http://www.stateoftobaccocontrol.org/state-grades/louisiana/highlights.html

3 The Business Case For Breastfeeding. Published in 2008 by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), Maternal and Child Health Bureau. Retrieved from https://www.womenshealth.gov/files/documents/bcfb_business-case-for-breastfeeding-for-business-managers.pdf

4 Adult Obesity Rates, State of Childhood Obesity, a project of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. https://stateofchildhoodobesity.org/adult-obesity/

5 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Facts About Hypertension in the United States. https://www.cdc.gov/bloodpressure/facts.htm

6 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Diabetes Quick Facts. https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/basics/quick-facts.html

7 Louisiana Department of Health. Diabetes Fact Sheet. http://ldh.la.gov/assets/oph/chronic/diabetes/DiabetesFacts_LA_Final_2015.pdf

8 Louisiana Department of Health. Environmental Public Health Tracking. http://ldh.la.gov/index.cfm/page/2612

9 Partnership To Fight Chronic Disease. “What Is The Impact Of Chronic Disease On Louisiana?” Fact Sheet. https://www.fightchronicdisease.org/states/louisiana