Pentagon Initiates Employee Wellness Program

by: Nichole Gunn November 22, 2010

In a recent American Forces Press Service, the Pentagon announced it adopted a new civilian employee fitness challenge. In an effort to take advantage of employee incentives, including its own wellness program, the Defense Department implemented the ‘Leap Into Fall’ campaign.

Officials note that the program “is not only good for employees and the Defense Department, but also for the nation.”

The program was designed to motivate employees to perform 30 minutes of physical activity five times a week. The activity may be as simple as walking, biking, gardening, or golfing, “anything that gets you up and moving,” stated Kathleen Ott, acting deputy undersecretary of defense for the office

The campaign is an extension of an awareness campaign initiated early in the year. Its purpose is to post health information and educational resources focusing on physical fitness, nutrition, smoking cessation, stress, and more. Ott explained that the information on the site can be easily downloaded for reading convenience and sharing.

These wellness and fitness incentives and resources are part of Defense Department’s readiness plan. “As part of readiness, the department feels strongly that our employees should have at their fingertips the information that helps them live a healthy lifestyle,” added Ott.

The Defense Department is also striving to be a better employer through these programs, says Ott. "If we pay attention to our employees and their needs, it makes us a better employer, better able to recruit and retain employees and retain our reputation as a model employer."

Participants of the ‘Leap Into Fall’ campaign are from all over the world, including Afghanistan. With more than five million employees, service members, and soldiers, the Defense Department no doubt “has a sizable healthcare expense that can be reduced through proven strategies like wellness programs.”