Our project increased employees of the Absentee Shawnee Tribal Health Clinics participation in moderate intensity physical activity (MIPA) during the workday. The CDC Winnable Battle strategies utilized were Strategy #6 - Creation of or enhanced access to places for physical activity combined with informational outreach activities and Strategy #3 - Social support interventions in a community/worksite setting.
In 2010, the leadership developed and enacted a physical activity policy, which allowed up to 3 hours per week of paid release time for employee participation in a health and wellness programs. Five years later, only 10% of employees were utilizing this policy to participate in physical activity. We utilized information outreach to broaden and expand the emphasis of policy from ‘exercising for fitness’ to ‘participating in physical activity for health’. We amended the previous policy to include at least two MIPA (brisk walking) breaks that can be preformed in 15- minute sessions at the worksite. To increase participation and reach those employees that were not used to exercising, we included employee incentives and developed a ‘buddy system’ to support participation in MIPA.
Absentee Shawnee are actively and proudly traditional. We used our traditional concept of ‘looking back and looking forward’- Meaning we looked back at traditional living/activity and are looking forward to incorporate those pieces of the past into today by redefining balance and a healthy state of being. We also addressed reducing barriers for positive health behaviors.
We issued pedometers and found both regular walking steps and brisk walking steps increased over the 13-week program. The number of days employees were physically active for 30 minutes or longer and social support for physical activity scores increased. Evaluation surveys reported 91% of respondents believed the signs and emails of encouragement were useful in helping me become more physically active at work; 86% enjoyed participating in the program and would participate in another walk for health program; and 91% believed the program helped them to become more physically active.
Our project successes are a permanent policy inclusion for two 15 minutes per day MIPA breaks, positive employee feedback, and increased physical activity. Our goal was 100 employees and we had over 150 regular participants. We learned that developing walking and route maps were helpful for employees and the competition aspect motivated participants.