Marcie Laumann of the Suffolk Partnership for a Healthy Community talks with Planning and Community Development employee Yulanda Manning about the dangers of sugary drinks at a city wellness fair on Thursday.
Marcie Laumann of the Suffolk Partnership for a Healthy Community talks with Planning and Community Development employee Yulanda Manning about the dangers of sugary drinks at a city wellness fair on Thursday.

City employees get healthy

Published 10:19pm Thursday, March 27, 2014

City employees learned more about how to take care of their health during an employee wellness fair at the Suffolk National Guard Armory on Thursday.

More than 40 vendors offered information and health screenings in a variety of areas. This is the fourth time the annual event has been held.

“With increased health care costs for all of us, we’re trying to be very proactive in helping employees out,” said Becky Stevens, employee health and wellness coordinator. “This is a good reminder for them to take care of their health, especially on the preventive side.”

About 300 employees, or one-quarter of the city’s workforce, have attended in past years, Stevens said. Employees were allowed to leave work, if their schedule permitted it, to attend.

Human Resources Director Nancy Olivo said it was worth it to ensure employees remember to focus on staying healthy.

“It’s all part of managing our health care costs,” she said, adding that employees in good health are more productive and that the event helps boost morale.

Various vendors offered screenings evaluating employees’ blood pressure, vision, hearing, posture, bone density, skin cancer risk and body mass index. Exercise demonstrations including line dancing and Zumba were held, and employees joined in.

Healthy People Healthy Suffolk came toting its display of drink bottles along with sugar cubes to show how much added sugar is in each drink.

“You drink one Coke, you’ve drank twice as much sugar as you need for the whole day,” Suffolk Partnership for a Healthy Community Director Robbie Laughton told a visitor to his booth. The partnership offered free samples and how-to cards for a healthier alternative — fruit-infused water.

The partnership also conducted body mass index screenings and promoted its 5K race coming in June.

City employees could also get information on health insurance, sleep disorders, physical therapy, eye health, urgent care, local pharmacies, diabetes, local gyms, foot and ankle care, pain management, work site safety and more.

Focusing on the health of the whole family, pediatric and senior care experts were on hand.

Banks and the employees’ credit union were on site to share information about financial health, and a legal resources representative was there as well.

“We don’t just focus on physical health,” Stevens said. “It’s a holistic approach.”

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