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PERRYSBURG SCHOOLS

Wellness program alive and kicking

District employees tackling weight loss

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Right now the Perrysburg district is starting a 12-week weight-loss campaign.

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During a period when health-insurance costs are steadily rising, Perrysburg Schools’ growing wellness program has kept rates the same the last three years.

Although the financial benefits are there, employees also appreciate the care.

“Having good health helps the environment at school and with the kids,” said Brooke Schulte, fifth-grade teacher at Frank Elementary.

This wellness program at Perrysburg Schools began a few years ago. A wellness committee meets about once a month. The panel is made up of representatives from each district school, the transportation department, and administrative office.

Perrysburg Schools has brought in CHC Wellness from Chicago for a confidential blood screening for the last three autumns. Tests check for all types of physical conditions. Results are later given to individuals, and the district receives an overall aggregate.

“I got a huge report back,” Mrs. Schulte said. “It had everything, things I didn’t even know about before.”

The wellness committee makes decisions on what health initiatives it needs to undertake based on the overall issues with its employees.

“High blood pressure is prevalent in the district; we pick different things to work on,” said Aura Norris, executive director of human resources and operations.

Right now the district is starting a 12-week weight-loss campaign. Last week all participating teachers were weighed. Follow-up weigh-ins will take place at 6 and 12 weeks.

While it isn’t the only reason, the blood screenings have an effect on health-insurance rates, Ms. Norris said. Finding health issues sooner creates less expensive treatments later, she said.

Pat Loridas, executive vice president of CHC Wellness, said keeping health insurance the same for three years is “a great accomplishment and really rare.” That can be achieved, he said, when employers have the right health model and effect on employees.

CHC Wellness came to the last Perrysburg board of education meeting to award the district with the company’s Culture of Health award. Mr. Loridas said increasing employees’ engagement the last three years up to 75 percent participation rate led them to the honor.

While it can save the district and employees financially, it can do much more.

“The screenings check blood cells, and if there is an imbalance that is an early sign of cancer,” he said. “The comprehensive analysis gives us great feedback to prevent serious diseases and save lives.”

That means the world to some employees. Mrs. Schulte said it is easier to work out or eat better with peers who can hold you accountable. She thanked the district for thinking of the teachers, bus drivers, custodians, and everyone working together for Perrysburg Schools.

Contact Matt Thompson at: mthompson@theblade.com, 419-356-8786, or on Twitter at @mthompson25.

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