homepage logo

Cape Hospital employees begin a health, wellness pilot program

By Staff | Jul 31, 2009

Fifty employees of Lee Memorial Health System are participating in a six-month pilot program that focuses on health and wellness.
Last weekend, 44 of the 50 employees invited to participate met at The Wellness Center behind Cape Coral Hospital to complete a Health Risk Assessment, or HRA, that scores a person’s risk of heart disease, high blood pressure or other disorders such as cancer.
“They fill out an HRA and take a fitness exam where they are doing things physically to see what their level of fitness is,” said Dr. Salvatore Lacagnina, director of The Wellness Center. “It gives you an overall broad assessment of where their health is at this point in time.”
Each participant later received an individualized fitness plan that will help them carry on a healthier lifestyle. According to Lacagnina, employees in the program work out at The Wellness Center three times a week for at least 30 minutes.
Participants in the program come to The Wellness Center with weight issues, diabetes problems, heart disease or high blood pressure, he said. Many of the problems are related to less active lifestyles.
“A lot of it involves weight and a sedentary lifestyle,” Lacagnina said.
According to a new study released by the Centers for Disease Control, obesity rates have risen by 37 percent in the United States between 1998 and 2006. The result of more Americans being overweight has caused an 89 percent spike in health costs.
“Obesity is a risk for a number of chronic diseases, including diabetes, cardiovascular disease and some cancers,” said William H. Dietz, director of the CDC’s Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity.
In 2006, obese people spent an additional $1,429 per year, or 42 percent more than everyone else, for health care. The CDC estimated that health problems related to obesity cost $147 billion per year.
A similar pilot program was developed for employees of the Lee County Clerk of Courts.
“It’s a program we have available for other companies,” he said. “We want them to utilize The Wellness Center on Del Prado for their exercise portion.”
Over six months, the employees attend monthly nutrition classes and meet three times throughout the program.
“The ultimate goal is to make them healthier, decrease risks of chronic illness and make them more productive at work and in personal lives to improve their overall quality of life,” said Lacagnina.
During the wellness program, they also use the center’s Healthy Brain Initiative, a computer program that works out the brain through a number of mental exercises such as math problems, word association and other puzzles.