Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced today the City of Chicago won a $3 million grant supported by the American Beverage Foundation for a Healthy America (ABFHA) after winning the Wellness Challenge against the City of San Antonio.
“Chicago’s city employees have taken a major step towards taking control of their health and well-being,” said Mayor Emanuel. “The Chicago Lives Healthy wellness program is a national model for creating a healthier workforce while controlling health care costs and this friendly competition with San Antonio highlights simple ways everyone can create a better quality of life for themselves and their families.”
“Through this competition, we have increased employee participation in the City of San Antonio’s wellness programs to record levels,” said Mayor Julián Castro. “We look forward to continuing the momentum by expanding our wellness offerings and improving the lives of our employees and their families.”
In October 2012, Mayor Emanuel and San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro, with support from ABFHA, announced an innovative municipal wellness challenge. Employees from the City of Chicago and the City of San Antonio competed to see which city could improve their wellness profile more. The competition encouraged employees to show improvement in key health measurements including Body-Mass Index, smoking cessation and other areas. To participate in the program, employees completed either a health screening or a health risk assessment.
Chicago had the highest participation for any comprehensive municipal wellness program in the country, winning the competition with 91 percent participation. San Antonio received $2 million from the competition, significantly increasing participation in its wellness program to 57 percent of its employees. This is nearly double similar programs in the public and private sector.
The City will use the $3 million grant to further expand the Chicago Lives Healthy program to better provide convenient locations for biometric screenings, increase the number of educational opportunities for people working to regulate their blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol and provide enhanced computer access to employees looking to track their wellness progress.
“In our eyes, both cities are winners in this competition,” Susan K. Neely, President and Chair of ABFHA, and President and CEO of the American Beverage Association, said. “ABFHA is proud to continue its work to support efforts such as these that contribute to the health of local communities.”
The City plans to continue to work with its partners in Labor to identify new opportunities to expand its wellness offerings to empower employees to achieve their health goals.