Union Pacific Helps Employees Achieve Weight Loss Goals
Voluntary Wellness Programs Help Workers Lose Weight and Feel Great
Omaha, Neb., January 14, 2008 As many workers in companies across the nation begin the New Year with resolutions to lead healthier lifestyles, Union Pacific – North America's largest railroad – offers its 50,000 employees health and wellness resources to help them turn good intentions into achievable goals.
In recognition of National Lose Weight and Feel Great Month, Union Pacific reports in 2005 and 2006 that nearly 1,500 employees participating in company-sponsored weight management programs lost a combined 15,501 pounds or an average of 10 pounds per person. Good health is paramount in an industry that relies on a safe workplace whether employees work in an office or out on the railroad supporting the safe and efficient operation of trains moving freight across 32,300 route miles of Union Pacific-owned track – enough to circle the equator nearly one and a half times.
"We place a great deal of emphasis on ensuring our employees have access to resources that enable them to enjoy good health and fitness," said Barbara Schaefer, Senior Vice President - Human Resources. "Healthy employees are more productive and work more safely. Our voluntary wellness programs have also proven to be an effective way to cope with rising healthcare costs."
Union Pacific’s flagship program called HealthTrack is designed to raise employee awareness and eliminate risk factors associated with potentially chronic ailments such as diabetes, asthma, high blood pressure, stress, smoking, inactivity, excess weight, fatigue, high cholesterol and depression by encouraging healthy behaviors. And, the company offers several different programs for employees and their spouses that will help to change unhealthy habits. These programs include:
- Wellness Assessment – a health-risk appraisal that helps employees and spouses identify opportunities for better health and a higher quality of life
- Follow-Up Programs – include educational materials and a health coach for employees and their spouses to help reduce or eliminate the risk of health-related illness and disease; participation is voluntary and completely confidential
- System Health Facilities – company-sponsored access to exercise facilities located throughout the system that is available to Union Pacific employees.
- Tobacco Cessation Program – offers a comprehensive approach to tobacco cessation, which includes the option for pharmacological assistance and behavior-change support materials
- FOCUS Program– topics include Alertness Management, Sleep Disorders, Mental Health/Behavioral Health, Resiliency, Workplace Violence and Drug and Alcohol Abuse Prevention
- Know Your Numbers – Health Education program designed to provide important numbers such as blood pressure, cholesterol and body mass index that can help improve overall health.
"We are continuing to make progress in raising awareness and participation in our health and wellness programs," said Jackie Austad, general director of benefits and wellness at Union Pacific. "We want to ensure that employees’ resolve for better health does not wane a month or two into the New Year but helps to spur a lifetime lifestyle change that benefits them and their families as well as our company."
Last year marked the third consecutive year that the National Business Group on Health – a national non-profit organization of 266 large employers – honored Union Pacific for its commitment and dedication to combating obesity and promoting a healthy lifestyle for its employees. Union Pacific was one of 41 employers that received the Best Employers for Healthy Lifestyles award at the Leadership Summit sponsored by the Business Group’s Institute on the Costs and Health Effects of Obesity. The railroad was one of eleven companies to receive a Platinum Award for health programs to improve employees’ lifestyle behaviors.
About Union Pacific
Union Pacific Corporation owns one of America's leading transportation companies. Its principal operating company, Union Pacific Railroad, links 23 states in the western two-thirds of the country and serves the fastest-growing U.S. population centers. Union Pacific’s diversified business mix includes Agricultural Products, Automotive, Chemicals, Energy, Industrial Products and Intermodal. The railroad offers competitive long-haul routes from all major West Coast and Gulf Coast ports to eastern gateways. Union Pacific connects with Canada’s rail systems and is the only railroad serving all six major gateways to Mexico, making it North America’s premier rail franchise.
For further information, contact James Barnes (402) 544-3560.
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