Health e-News
September 2014
Why Use HRAs?
On My Weigh 2014
Fruits, Veggies, and Whole Grains
Healthy Recipe Makeovers
Effective Exercise Interventions
Breakfast with the Experts
Quick Links


What if we could avoid many of the conditions that plague our workforce today? We can. Healthy eating and exercise are a fundamental part of wellness and disease prevention. Are you making deliberate efforts to intervene in this area?


This edition of Health e-News provides a snapshot of some programs and services available to you through Employer Solutions, designed to educate your workforce on healthy lifestyle choices. We encourage you to contact us for more details on how we can work together to prevent illness through building a culture of wellness.


Please share this valuable information with your employees. A version of this newsletter designed just for them is available at:        


To your good health,   


Patti Groholski

Executive Director, Employer Solutions

Why Use HRAs?

Health care costs, employee health, presenteeism, absenteeism, employee productivity, worker's compensation. There are lots of reasons to offer health risk assessments (HRAs) to your employees. If you do, kudos! If not, it's time to start. Whether you've been conducting HRAs for years or never before, it's important to understand why this tool is so valuable to employer and employee alike.


What is an HRA?

The health risk assessment (HRA) is a health tool used to identify personal risk factors for individuals. Collectively, the Corporate HRA Summary Report is a road map for improving employee health for an organization. It helps employers gauge overall health improvements from year to year in the employee population and to identify key areas in which to focus wellness programming and interventions.


An HRA includes:

  • Confidential online health and lifestyle questionnaire
  • On-site biometric screening--total cholesterol, HDL, LDL, ratio total cholesterol/HDL, triglycerides and glucose
  • Measurements--height, weight, blood pressure, body fat percentage, and body mass index (BMI) testing
  • Personalized, confidential health profile report
  • Corporate summary report providing aggregate data on the health issues of employee population

How does it help my organization?

When you use your HRA data to invest in the right wellness programs, employee health improves. And when employee health improves, there is a positive impact on medical costs, absenteeism, productivity, and many more organizational benefits!


How does it help my employees?

The HRA enhances your benefits package. It's a tool that tells employees you care, and you are willing to invest in their well-being. HRAs help employees gain knowledge of their personal risk factors, which enables them to make healthy lifestyle changes to avoid illness, chronic diseases, and improve their overall health and wellness.


Take action

Effective wellness programs start with an HRA. It's the first step toward creating a comprehensive wellness culture for your workforce. For more information, contact Tammy Davis at (920) 628-1532 or Cindy Budiac at (920) 628-1533.

On My Weigh 2014

One of the recurring health issues seen in HRAs is obesity. You CAN make a lasting difference in your employees' health with a work site weight loss program that focuses on long-term behavior change. Introducing "On My Weigh 2014," a program designed to educate and empower participants to self-manage their weight loss efforts to achieve lifelong success. 

Every week for 10 weeks, participants gather for a confidential meeting led by an Employer Solutions wellness specialist. The group learns:

  • the stages of change
  • how to set a SMART goal to stay committed and motivated
  • the importance of journaling
  • how to decode those misleading food labels
  • how much exercise is right for them
  • how to prevent pitfalls and avoid relapse

On My Weigh 2014 holds participants accountable with weekly weigh-ins and offers three- and six-month post-program weigh-ins. Participation is a key element separating this program from others.  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 others are going through the same thing they are. The group works as a team.

Each participant receives:

  • Dr. Ann's Weigh Less for Life book
  • nutrition journaling materials
  • a resistance band
  • Fitbit Zip

Contact Tammy Davis at (920) 628-1532 or Cindy Budiac at (920) 628-1533 for more information.

fruit-basket.jpg Fruit, Veggies and Whole Grains


September is both Whole Grains Month and "More Matters" Month, which is designed to raise awareness of the nutritional value of fruits and vegetables. As we transition to fall weather and the end of the summer harvest, it's a good time to learn more about making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits. This month, we encourage you to take a good look at what's on your plate.



The United States Department of Agriculture established "MyPlate" guidelines for nutritious meals. Aim to make half of your plate vegetables and fruit. One way to accomplish this is to add color to your plate.  Strive for at least three different colors aside from brown, beige and white. Think green for spinach, peppers and other leafy greens; red for tomatoes, red peppers, apples, and more; orange for carrots, tangerines, apricots, mango, etc.; blue and purple for grapes, blueberries, eggplant and more.


Other strategies include:

  • Make at least half of your grains whole grains
  • Vary your veggies (vary your colors)
  • Focus on fruits (include colors)
  • Get your calcium-rich foods (low-fat dairy products)
  • Go lean with protein (lean cuts of meats, poultry, fish and vegetable proteins like beans and other legumes)
  • Cut back on sodium and watch your consumption of empty calories--those foods that have a lot of added fats and sugars but not much more
  • Be aware of oversized portions, and the size of your plates, bowls or cups.
  • Be physically active. Choose activities you enjoy and that motivate you.

What is a "whole grain"?

A whole grain is the entire seed or "kernel" of the plant, consisting of three edible parts--the bran, the germ, and the endosperm. Whole grain foods provide more protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals than grains that are processed to remove the bran and the germ.


Whole grains are easy to add to your meals and favorite recipes! Here's how.

  • When your baked goods call for white or all-purpose flour, substitute half the flour with whole wheat flour.
  • Replace one-third of a recipe's flour with quick oats or old-fashioned oats.
  • Add wild rice, brown rice or barley to your canned or homemade soup.
  • In burgers, meatballs or meatloaf, add cup of uncooked oats per pound of ground meat.
  • Stir a handful of uncooked oats in your yogurt for added crunch.
  • Buy whole-grain pasta instead of refined white pasta.
  • Try whole-grain breads or pitas instead of white bread. Kids like it!

Source: Whole Grains Council


For more information and ideas on healthy eating, visit the United States Department of Agriculture's "MyPlate" website,

Healthy Recipe Makeovers

Looking for a creative program to motivate better eating habits? Our "Healthy Recipe Makeover" intervention is fun and effective. Employees are given the opportunity to submit unhealthy versions of their favorite recipes to be "made over" into a healthier version. Employer Solutions will then include your employees' healthy recipes in our 160+ recipe book that can be printed and distributed to your employees.


Participants will learn how to infuse nutrition into their recipes without sacrificing taste by employing these six tricks:


1. Reduce the amount of fat, sugar, and sodium.

2. Make a healthy substitution.

3. Delete an ingredient.

4. Add healthy ingredients

5. Change the method of preparation.

6. Change the portion size.


For more details, bring our Healthy Recipe Makeover program on-site and into your employees' kitchens! Contact Tammy Davis at (920) 628-1532 or Cindy Budiac at (920) 628-1533 to learn how.

Effective Exercise Interventions

Employer Solutions offers a variety of exercise interventions designed to motivate your employees to get (and stay) fit. Here are three programs to consider:


The Stretch Break Challenge

This challenge is designed to remind employees of the importance of stretching, and keep it at the forefront of their minds on a daily and weekly basis. All participants receive a book with pictures and descriptions of each stretch. The goal of this program is to remind participants to stretch regularly to prevent injury, maintain range of motion, and improve energy.    


Get Fit in 30 Exercise Book

This book involves a circuit training program of cardio and strength training components.  The "Get Fit in 30" book contains pictures and descriptions of each exercise including warm-up, exercise routine including cardio and strength training, and cool-down stretches.  You can turn this program into a challenge by setting a goal of number of times the Get Fit in 30 program is completed in a month's time frame, example 12 times a month. 


Fitness Challenges

Affinity Occupational Health has a variety of pedometer and non-pedometer fitness challenges. Some examples include Football Fitness Challenge, Big Game Hunting Challenge, Mountain Climb Challenge, Spring Training Baseball Challenge, and Poker Fitness Challenge.


For more information on these and other exercise programs for your workplace, contact Tammy Davis at (920) 628-1532 or Cindy Budiac at (920) 628-1533.

Breakfast with the Experts

Managing Work/Life Stress
Presented by Jennifer Norden, MD, and Shelly Rutz Maxwell, MSW, LCSW

Wednesday, Sept. 10
7:30 - 9:30 a.m.
Bridgewood Resort and Conference Center
1000 Cameron Way, Neenah

Work--and life--often present us with unexpected changes and unwelcome stressors. Work/life stressors impact us personally but also professionally. Join Jen Norden, MD, and Shelly Rutz Maxwell, MSW, LCSW,  to learn how this impacts the physiology of our bodies and minds, and what techniques can help. Mind-body practices like breathing exercises, gratitude practices, and meditation can change the brain in ways that increase resiliency, compassion, and happiness. 

Jennifer Norden, MD, medical director the Mary Kimball Anhaltzer Center for Integrative Medicine, provides integrative medicine services, including medical acupuncture and guidance on nutrition and lifestyle. She is board-certified in internal medicine. Dr. Norden earned her medical degree from the University of Wisconsin Medical School and completed her residency at Oregon Health Sciences University. She is a graduate of the Program in Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona, under the guidance of Andrew Weil, MD. Dr. Norden completed her training in Medical Acupuncture for Physicians, Helms Medical Institute, University of California Los Angeles.

Shelly Rutz Maxwell, MSW, LCSW, provides counseling through Employer Solutions' Employee Assistance Program. She earned her master's degree from the Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis. She previously worked at the UW Oshkosh Counseling Center. Shelly draws on a wide array of work experiences to provide a holistic approach to her clients. She works to create a safe atmosphere to identify the issues creating difficulty and to figure out the best response. Shelly's specialties include mental health, family and relationship issues, grief, stress management, identity development, and life transitions.

To register for this free seminar, please contact Stefanie Armstrong at  
Contact Employer Solutions

To contact an Employer Solutions sales associate, call our office located in Menasha, at 1-800-541-0351, or e-mail, or