Health e-News
May 2014
Locally Produced Foods Provide Peace of Mind
On My Weigh 2014
Allergy Intervention
Check Your Blood Pressure
Invitation to Meet Our Connection Specialist
Promoting Physical Fitness at Work
Community Summer Walk/Run Events
Quick Links

May is a chance for Wisconsin families to get outdoors, enjoy nicer weather, exercise and start planting those fresh garden veggies. Co-workers can sit outside for lunch or hike a few laps around the walking trail. As we prepare for summer, this edition of Health e-News is designed to help you make the most of this upcoming season of fresh air and fitness.


From information on locally grown produce to community running events, weight management, allergies and more, today's e-news is filled with helpful tips for employers and families alike.

Please share this valuable information with your employees. Their version of today's editon is available at:   


To your good health,   

Linda Hale-Graves

Director, Wellness and Employer Solutions

Affinity Health System

Locally Produced Foods Provide Peace of Mind and Much More 

By Julia Salomón, MS, RD, CD 


Whether you grow your own food, visit your community's farmers' market or participate in community supported agriculture (CSA) programs, one thing is for sure--you are doing much more than just enjoying fresh food.

Acquiring or buying locally grown food is a personal choice that offers many benefits beyond nutrition, including issues of sustainability, food safety and more. The list below highlights some benefits from eating locally and seasonally.

1. Flavor: While our sense of taste is very personal, most of us enjoy the taste of fresh food over food that has been sitting in a bin or shelf for some time. Locally produced food is harvested, gathered or picked at its peak of ripeness, when content nutrients are the highest and therefore the food is more flavorful. Food that is sold in grocery stores is typically harvested earlier to account for the time the food sits in trucks while it is being shipped. Produce at farmer's markets or produce in CSA basket shares have been picked the day before or that very same day in some cases, which means you as a consumer get to enjoy that food at its best!

2. Seasonal: When we choose to eat locally, we also eat seasonally and tailor our eating to what is grown at that time of the year. This may mean taking advantage of apples in the early fall and cranberries in late fall and early winter. It means feasting on strawberries in early summer and broccoli and celery in mid-summer while enjoying the variety of squash and pumpkin options during the fall and early winter months. Eating seasonally assures that we are eating food as fresh as possible. Canning foods at their peak would allow for enjoyment of certain foods year round, when they would typically not be in season.

3. Economy: Money spent on local businesses including farmers and local growers tends to stay and be reinvested in the community. Supporting local farmers and food growers is good for the local economy.

4. Environment: Supporting locally produced foods is one way to help maintain local farms and other green that may exist in your very own community. It also has the potential to cut down on the "carbon footprint" needed to produce that food. Carbon footprint refers to the amount of energy--specifically carbon dioxide and methane--that was emitted during the production and delivery of that food (from start to finish or farm to table). Because less transport and other processes are involved in locally produced foods, there is usually less negative impact on the environment.

5. Nutrition: Since locally grown food has much less distance to travel and less time has passed between harvest and your dinner plate, you will be enjoying food at its peak and probably benefitting from the best nutrient value of that food. Much like the flavor in food decreases with time, so does the nutrient content.

6. Food Safety: Foods grown locally have fewer "critical points" of contamination. The more distance between the food and your table, the more chances for potential contamination. Foods grown farther away have more "critical points" for potential contamination including issues during harvesting, picking and washing, shipping, distribution and handling once at the grocery store.

7. Peace of mind: Knowing where your food comes from, who grew it or raised it, what farming practices were used, what kind of feed was used, etc. can tell us a lot about what we are eating and provide us with information and peace of mind.
Whether grown conventionally or organically, locally produced foods offer many benefits beyond nutrition. With growing season upon us, take a closer look at what is available in your community to start incorporating more locally produced foods in your life. 

On My Weigh 2014    
By Megan Klug, wellness account specialist

On My Weigh 2014 is a program designed by Affinity Occupational Health to help employees kick-start their healthy lifestyle, by setting SMART goals for realistic lifestyle changes. This program focuses on long-term weight loss success and empowers participants to follow a personalized action plan they can be confident in. 


How does the program work?
Every week for 10 weeks, participants gather for a one-hour session led by an Affinity wellness specialist. Each session will consist of a weigh-in, discussion of a weekly topic, and an interactive activity. Many of the takeaways come from participants sharing their successes and their setbacks with the rest of the group. It is very powerful for participants to hear that other are going thought the same thing they are. The group works as a team and is there for support. After the 10-week program, we plan a three-month and six-month post meeting to check back in and discuss successes and setbacks. 


For more information, contact Tammy Davis at (920) 628-1532 or Cindy Budiac at (920) 628-1533. 

'Tis the Season for Allergy Intervention           


One in every four or five of your associates suffers with watery eyes, runny nose, and machine-gun sneezing from allergies. If left untreated, these seasonal allergies will drain employee productivity and increase their risk of accidents. But with proper management, allergy sufferers can work as productively and safely as those without.


Affinity Occupational Health offers an on-site Allergy Intervention that will help your associates achieve proper allergy management. This program empowers your associates by teaching self-management. Our team will teach yours how to recognize and avoid triggers, how to use over-the-counter medications to best advantage, and how to decide among prescription options. This program includes a group presentation and one-to-one clinical sessions with our nurse practitioner at your company's location.


For more information, contact Tammy Davis at (920) 628-1532 or Cindy Budiac at (920) 628-1533.

Check Your Blood Pressure!
May is Global Employee Health and Fitness Month. One way we can all keep tabs on our health is by checking our blood pressure.
Many people with high blood pressure don't feel any symptoms. If left untreated, high blood pressure can lead to stroke, heart failure, heart attack, or kidney failure.

Interpreting the numbers
The American Heart Association has tightened the parameters for blood pressure in recent years, creating a new category called pre-hypertension.  People in this range are headed down the road toward high blood pressure and should take action to keep their numbers from creeping higher. 

For the average person:
Normal blood pressure = less than 120/80
Pre-hypertension = 120-139/80-89
Stage 1 hypertension = 140-159/90-99
Stage 2 hypertension = greater than 160/100

Reversing risk
While genetics are a major risk factor for developing high blood pressure, lifestyle choices also play a role. Being overweight, smoking, and eating a high-sodium diet can all increase your chances of developing high blood pressure. Fortunately, some simple changes can make a big difference.
1. Lose weight. It only takes about 10 pounds or 10 percent of your body weight to start impacting blood pressure. 
2. Get active! Exercise releases nitric oxide, a chemical that relaxes your blood vessels and lowers blood pressure. For most people, 30 to 45 minutes a day, five days a week, is a good start. 
3. Watch what you put in your body. If you eliminate smoking and processed foods from your diet, you will free your body from harmful substances that can raise blood pressure. 
In some cases, medication is also necessary to keep blood pressure under control. See your doctor for personalized advice.  

Have You Met Our Connection Specialist?   


Did you know you have access to one of Affinity's best personal resources? Sarah Stern, Affinity connection specialist, is here to serve you, to connect you and your employees to personalized care, and to act as your organization's liaison for all things Affinity.


Have you met Sarah yet? Or perhaps it's time to reconnect. Sarah is available to come on site to provide the following services:


  • Set up a booth to meet and greet your employees with a variety of information on Affinity's services
  • Provide information on Affinity Medical Home and our specialty providers
  • Answer questions about which providers are taking new patients
  • Meet one-on-one with employees to provide a concierge-level service to help them find a physician
  • Sarah can even help employees set up their first appointment.


To schedule a time for Sarah to visit your workplace, please call Tammy Davis at (920) 628-1532 or Cindy Budiac at (920) 628-1533.

Try This! Workplace Wellness Tip:

Promoting Physical Fitness

By Heidi Hayes, wellness account specialist


Looking for ways to promote physical fitness within the workplace? It's easier than you think. Try these tips for starters.


1. Getting there - Make the most of your commute
Encourage employees to walk, bike, or park a few blocks away. Studies have shown that people with active commutes have fewer risk factors for heart disease. They also have lower blood pressure, triglyceride, and insulin levels and are less likely to be overweight.


 2. Fitness break - Urban exercising
Sitting at a desk for 8 to 12 hours, 5 days a week doesn't sound so appealing. Many people actually become less productive when sitting in the same place for long periods of time. Take small fitness breaks during the day to get out of your slump and re-energize yourself! Take a couple laps around the office or find the stairs and start climbing. Doing this with a coworker makes it more enjoyable and also adds some good positive interaction. Keep a fitness band at your desk to work on some upper body strengthening exercises. You can easily strengthen your upper back, chest, arms and shoulders in just a few minutes two or three times a week.


 3. Take a stand
Instead of going about your whole day in a seated position, try standing! A 45-minute conference call can be turned into a 45-minute extra calorie burn. Try getting a high work table at a height that is comfortable for you. For a change in your lunch routine, try eating lunch while standing! Studies show you are less likely to overeat when you are on your feet. The bottom line is, the more you stand the more calories you will burn!


4. Tired of your chair? Trade it in!
If your job permits it, try using a firmly inflated exercise or stability ball instead of your chair - if you can safely balance on the ball. By sitting on an exercise ball, you will be constantly working on your balance while also engaging and toning your core. Take small breaks during the day and try incorporating the ball with leg lifts and other easy exercises to get your heart rate up.


5. Moving meetings
Meetings are conducted every day on a variety of topics. Many of us can say we have also tried to fight off those sleepy eyes and brilliant daydreaming sessions during those meetings. When it's practical, try a walking meeting or brainstorming session either outside or by taking laps around the office. This will help engage employees better, and they might even offer up more ideas. Bring a handheld recorder with you to record ideas and have fun! Just think of all the calories you are burning while having a walking discussion instead of sitting in the conference room!


6. Make the most of your lunch break
Try organizing a lunchtime walking group. After eating lunch, take a stroll outside and enjoy the great outdoors while burning calories and taking in some sunshine and vitamin D. Most employees have between a half-hour and hour to eat. Take 10-15 minutes to enjoy your meal and then spend the rest on a walk. If the weather isn't cooperating, take to the stairs if your building has them. You can incorporate a stretching routine or even a short yoga session. There are also short 15-20 minute fitness videos you could do to help get the blood pumping. When you come back after lunch, you will feel more refreshed and ready to take on the rest of your day.

Get Ready for Local Summer Walk/Run Events 

Community walk/run events are a great way to exercise and enjoy the great outdoors this summer. We've compiled a helpful list of local races for running and walking enthusiasts of all ages.
Click here to download the list (PDF)!
Your Affinity Occupational Health Sales Team 
Holly Tomlin, manager of wellness and employer solutions for Affinity Occupational Health, enjoys building relationships with clients while finding creative solutions for their needs.  Holly's background includes 15 years of experience in the health care field, with a strong background in employee assistance programs and occupational health. As a certified massage therapist, Holly has a special interest in educating others on the benefits of a healthy lifestyle, including wellness and prevention initiatives. 

Tammy Davis, account manager for Affinity Occupational Health, provides corporate clients with valuable information regarding services offered through Affinity Occupational Health. She works closely with clients to determine their specific needs for health and wellness services. Tammy has a bachelor's degree in business administration from UW Oshkosh and over 20 years of experience in marketing, sales, and customer service. 


Cindy Budiac
, account manager for Affinity Occupational Health, is available to help clients determine the right services and programs for their needs. Cindy has more than 15 years of experience in clinical health care, sales and business development. As our newest account manager, Cindy looks forward to meeting you and partnering on all your occupational health needs. 

To contact Holly, Tammy or Cindy, call the Affinity Occupational Health office located in Menasha, at 1-800-541-0351, or e-mail, or