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Working on Wellness (WOW)
A reoccurring topic during the Forum discussions was the high rates of chronic health problems such as Type II Diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer in the local area. The idea developed into the Working on Wellness (WOW) plan, to combine resources of Staunton, Waynesboro, and Augusta County schools and dozens of service agencies to improve the health of community members.
Working on Wellness, has been divided into 3 age-specific subgroups: children/youth, the working population, and seniors. By working closely with each group, the WOW program aims to increase awareness of healthy lifestyle choices and their relationship to chronic diseases, and to improve the health of our community through increased activity and improved nutrition.
One of the most noticeable results of WOW is the addition of a registered dietitian who works with each of the three local school districts to create healthy cafeteria meals to improve nutrition and address obesity among school-age children. Augusta Health supported four years of recording Body Mass Index (BMI) data from local school children. The screenings revealed youth obesity rates between 20%-24% in local schools — higher than the national average. A multi-year grant from Augusta Health made it possible for dietitians to begin serving local schools.
WOW also supports nutrition and activity awareness for adults and seniors. Participating worksites offer health assessment screenings for their employees with follow-up WOW chronic disease risk reduction education using a tailored curriculum to meet the needs of the employer. Similar services are available to faith-based groups and civic organizations. Senior groups may elect to conduct screenings coupled with an educational emphasis on chronic disease management. WOW adult and senior education is provided by the nurse health educators of Augusta Health's Community Wellness department, using evidence-based programs that have received national attention.
WOW principles — move and eat what nourishes you — are fundamental, but achieving them can be elusive. The WOW partnership continues to devise creative ways to make them a reality. The program demonstrates that collaboration is the best way to make wellness work.
If you have questions about the WOW program, have knowledge of an untapped resource, or other great ideas to share, please contact Linda Gail Johnson. We welcome your thoughts!
ljohnson [at] augustahealth [dot] com (Linda Gail Johnson)
Augusta Health Community Wellness, Director
WOW Program Coordinator
(540) 332-4191 Staunton
(540) 932-4191 Waynesboro