Gov. Dave Heineman congratulated state employees who successfully completed the Walk This Way program, one of several wellness programs available to state workers as part of the State of Nebraska's wellness program. Employees and spouses completing the program criteria of 800,000 steps and more were invited to join the Governor for group photos in the Warner Chamber of the State Capitol.
During the past year, Walk This Way participants were challenged to increase their physical activity by logging at least 800,000 steps by March 28, 2014. Out of the total of 6380 employees and spouses enrolled in the Walk This Way program, 80% achieved this goal.
"The Walk This Way program is a successful part of our state wellness program that benefits state employees and their families," said Gov. Heineman. "It also contributes toward the culture of wellness we are building here at the State of Nebraska. I congratulate everyone who met and went beyond the goal."
The total number of steps logged by all participants the first year of the Walk This Way program equated to over 2 million miles, or roughly 82 times around the Earth's circumference. This year, the total distance logged by participants is 140 times around Earth's circumference.
For the fifth year in a row, Gov. Heineman has increased his total steps, which were 2 million the first year and have reached 5.3 million steps this year.
More than 2300 state workers and their spouses logged at least 1 million steps; 817 people reached 2 million steps; 337 logged more than 3 million steps; 139 people logged 4 million or more steps; 52 reached 5 million or more steps; 26 have logged more than 6 million steps and 18 have logged 7 million, 6 over 8 million, 1 over 9 million and 1 over 10 million steps.
Started in 2009, the state wellness program was the first of its kind among states to offer an integrated plan for health insurance that ties to wellness, disease prevention, early detection and healthier lifestyles. Employees and covered spouses can choose from a variety of programs in addition to an annual health assessment and health screening designed to help participants make healthier lifestyle choices, become aware of risk factors and better manage chronic conditions. Over 10,000 employees and spouses have enrolled in one or more wellness programs, which is eight percent higher than the previous year.
As a result of wellness efforts and outcomes, the State of Nebraska is demonstrating a strong example for others to follow by earning several prestigious national awards - the 2010 and 2012 Gold Well Workplace by the Wellness Council of America, Innovations Award from The Council of State Governments. Recently, the State of Nebraska became the first state to earn the coveted C. Everett Koop National Health Award, which has the most stringent requirements for demonstrating health improvements.