Wellness Policies

Worksites and faith communities are places adults spend a great deal of their time.  Many meals are consumed at these places and many hours are spent in sedentary activity.  Worksites and faith communities can have a great impact on Eastern Shore adults and children by making a solid commitment to encourage health among employees and faith community members.  By solid commitment, we mean a written policy.

Why a written policy?  Because when you work with your employees and your congregation to create an agreement about nutrition, physical activity, and tobacco use, writing down these agreements binds you to a commitment.  A written policy doesn’t change when the CEO or minister changes.  A written policy is adhered to, enforced and evaluated.  It is a compact, a covenant, an agreement to take care of business, body, mind and spirit.  As a policies, systems and environmental change framework partnership, we strongly encourage that employers and faith communities create wellness policies.

Did you know that Accomack and Northampton counties have an estimated adult smoking rate 1.33 to 1.83 times higher than the rest of Virginia?  We have a lung cancer mortality rate of 81 per 100,000, Virginia’s highest.  28% of our adults and 23% of our children are obese.  30% of our adults confess to being physically inactive.  And 12.5%of our population has type 2 diabetes.  Thousands of Virgini9a’s Eastern shore residents suffer from chronic illnesses that can be prevented or improved through regular physical activity, healthy eating, and quitting tobacco product use.  Employers have the power to impact employee health as employees spend half or more of waking hours at work.  How employees take care of themselves when not working can also impact their productivity at work.  Faith communities have an important outreach role on the Eastern Shore.  They represent an environment in which people feel secure about the information they receive.

For a personal visit from one of our Wellness Policies Work Group partners, contact our Work Group Tri-Chairs.


Funding for this policy and environmental change initiative in the past has come from the Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth.  Work Group Tri-Chairs include Jean Joeckel (Eastern Shore Rural Health Systems, Inc.); Rev. Gary Miller (St. John’s United Methodist Church, Atlantic); Joni White (Eastern Shore Health Department).