On November 17, hundreds of business and community leaders throughout Denver will come together to hear key recommendations from a project clearly worthy of our attention – Work Well, Live Well: Making Downtown Denver the Healthiest Workplace in America

For the past nine months, the 2011 Downtown Denver Leadership Program Class – in collaboration with LiveWell Colorado – has explored how a variety of sectors, including business, government, non-profit and residential, can influence and benefit from a healthier Denver workforce.

At LiveWell Colorado, we are thrilled to see the health of Denver’s workforce and the importance of worksite wellness taking center-stage. Likewise, we are delighted that this ambitious group of emerging leaders is engaging in and contributing to such a crucial issue.

It should come as no surprise that companies across Colorado are grappling with and trying to contain the rising cost of health care. Companies’ ability to thrive and remain competitive is being threatened by the total cost of poor health.

From contributing to higher rates of absenteeism to decreasing productivity, obesity affects the wellbeing of our workforce, economy and bottom line. In Colorado, obesity costs our economy just under $900 million annually in obesity-related medical costs. Clearly, companies are feeling these rising costs.

Fortunately, employers can play a significant role in containing these costs and improving their employees’ health by creating conditions in and around the workplace for employees to eat healthier and be more physically active during the work day.

Working together, we can all take small steps to make a difference in creating healthier worksite environments and cultures. Building owners can make stairs accessible to walking. Cafeterias can provide healthier offerings. Employees can bring healthy snacks to share during meetings. Employers can offer more physical activity breaks or replace sitting meetings with walking meetings. This truly must be a collaborative approach with a diverse group of partners at the table, and we commend the Downtown Denver Partnership for taking a lead on these efforts.

As part of its mission, LiveWell Colorado promotes an environment where every Coloradan has access to healthy foods and opportunities for physical activity in the places they live, work, learn and play.

To help make worksites healthier places, LiveWell Colorado has initiated the following:

  • Produced a Worksite Wellness Blueprint to identify the current state of worksite wellness in Colorado as well as identify, prioritize and guide future efforts.
  • Created and convened the Colorado Worksite Wellness Leadership Group – composed of influential leaders from diverse sectors – to advance a statewide initiative around healthy eating and active living in the workplace.

If you have not already done so, I encourage you to register for the Partnership’s event on November 17 to hear some of the creative solutions the Leadership Class has developed. It might just inspire you to figure out how you can contribute to making Denver the healthiest workplace in America. 

To register for the event, please email bwarren@downtowndenver.com by November 15.