Nebraska launches wellness award

State will honour employers that help workers get fit

A new state program will recognize Nebraska employers that encourage employees to lead a healthy lifestyle.

Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman said the new award, the Governor's Award of Excellence in Wellness, was created because wellness programs encourage healthy lifestyles, increase productivity and help lower health-care costs.

Wellness programs can also help prevent major public health issues, such as obesity, heart disease, hypertension and diabetes, said the state's chief medical officer.

The award will have two parts — one will recognize employers that have quality wellness programs and the other will recognize those that have seen an improvement in employees' health behaviours.

The awards, which will be given out about every six months, will also help identify wellness programs that can serve as models for other businesses, said the governor.

For employers that don't know where to start, the Nebraska Sports Council has created N-Lighten Nebraska, a wellness program that helps participants develop sustainable exercise and healthy eating habits and encourages people to work in teams.

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