Statewide Movement Gets Oklahoma Healthy

Friday, September 8th 2017, 6:01 pm
By: News 9

Jones, Oklahoma has a population of 2,500, all the makings of a sleepy town with quiet streets and a small downtown. However, if you ask City Clerk Tammy Wallace, she'll tell you it's a town on the move.

"We all need to be healthier," she said.

Wallace has taken the lead on getting her town on the right track, from balance ball office chairs to monthly wellness challenges, like monitoring blood pressure. She says she has 100% participation in the program.

"It's changed the morale around here," Wallace said. "The first wellness check that we did, one of our employees was a real bad diabetic who didn't know about it, so I feel like that saved a life there."

The lifestyle change has motivated employees off the clock too, where they line up for a 5K one weekend a month.

"The health of our state isn't going to move without action," said Julie Dearing, Wellness Systems Manager for the Oklahoma State Department of Health.

The state started the Certified Healthy Oklahoma Program in 2003 to recognize communities, schools and businesses for making healthy choices. Jones has received the honor three years in a row. Some of the reasons include a strong tobacco ordinance banning smoking and vaping on city properties and a park with a walking trail. Plans are in the works to expand the park to add exercise equipment.

"It's really taken off, I never thought it would be what it is," Wallace said.

The town's healthy movement has inspired schools and businesses to also get certified. Casualty Corporation of America worked with the town of jones to become a certified healthy business.

"We are so sedentary, all of us sit pretty much all day long," said Sandee Bates, Wellness Coordinator at Casulty Corporation of America, Inc.

Now the company has its own workout facility for 35 employees while also offering other incentive programs for participating.

"It's dropped our call in rate by almost 40 percent this year because people, when they feel better about themselves, they feel better about coming to work and they're healthier," said Bates.

"It's a recognition program, who doesn't like to be recognized," said Dearing. "I think it helps people, you know, get excited about wellness."

Applications are accepted each year. This year, the state certified 1,900 places in 75 of Oklahoma's 77 counties.