Health is sweeping the city

Published 10:05 pm Thursday, March 5, 2015

They’re coming after me next, or so I’ve been told.

I’m referring to the Suffolk Partnership for a Healthy Community, which has a Suffolk on the Move program whose new coordinator, Deborah Nadell, has started a workplace walking program that has everyone from real estate agents and insurance salespeople to peanut-company executives and car salesmen walking at work.

Nadell has set her sights on newspaper staff, she told me. I dread the day when she walks through the door of our office here on South Saratoga Street and asks for my editor or my publisher, because that means she has come to set up the program.

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Newspaper staffers are notoriously unhealthy. Journalists’ diets tend to consist of what we have time to eat between running to government meetings, interviewing sources, attending special events, writing stories, taking photos and making phone calls — fast food, microwave dinners, vending-machine snacks and Election Night pizza. To drink, we use whatever our preferred method of caffeine delivery is, whether it’s coffee, tea, soda or intravenous injection.

And most of the time we’re doing all that work and all that unhealthy eating while sitting in a desk chair or in a meeting. It’s not a good combination for our health, and a lot of other people in a lot of other professions are in similar states of affairs.

That’s the deadly formula Suffolk on the Move’s program hopes to change. It aims to get people thinking about how they can plan exercise into their work-a-day lives.

Whether it’s parking farther from the door in the morning, taking the long way to the copier, using the stairs instead of the elevator or conducting walking meetings, lots of workers can get a little more physical activity than they’re currently getting. And a little more can lead to a lot more — it all starts with taking that first step.

Nadell’s program can be adapted to any workplace, as well as civic groups, churches and others that gather regularly. Since Nadell knows most workplace bosses are busy, the program comes with much of the setup already done — the office or group simply has to decide what their goals and incentives will be.

According to the folks I talked to for a story last week — including Rose and Womble’s Harbour View office, Suffolk Insurance and Birdsong Peanuts — the people in their offices are excited about the program and already have begun to up the ante after exceeding their initial goals.

This is a great program, and in all seriousness I would love to see it come to the Suffolk News-Herald. Spring is coming — maybe I can volunteer for lots of outdoor interviews and beat my co-workers at this walking game.