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Summer 2013
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Creating a Community Fit for Life

 
 
Fit for Life Office Coordinator Betsy Peixotto and Program Manager Anthony Anderson work to improve the health of BIW employees and their dependents. (Photo courtesy of BIW)
Bath Iron Works (BIW) is the area’s largest employer and has a vested interest in the health of its workforce and the Midcoast community. It has created a comprehensive worksite wellness program, recognizing that its more than 5,000 employees are its most important asset. 

Over time, the BIW program has evolved into a health improvement model. As part of the growth of the program, BIW needed to improve its onsite health screening. It found a great partner for this in Mid Coast Hospital. With the early successes of the program, the future looks bright for a deepening relationship.

Established in 2012, Bath Built Fit for Life is managed through Mid Coast Hospital’s Community Health Improvement program and offered at no cost to all BIW employees and their dependents. Through another key partnership, TrestleTree—a health coaching company, the program helps participants manage chronic health conditions, plan for weight loss and stay motivated, quit tobacco, learn about nutrition and exercise, coordinate their healthcare, and connect them to community health resources.

"Worksite wellness initiatives have proven to create a healthier workforce with increased productivity and reduced absenteeism due to doctors visits and sick days,” said Steve Trockman, Director of Community Health Improvement at Mid Coast. "Working with BIW to create opportunities for better health is consistent with our goal of improving the health and wellness of our community.”

Through Fit for Life, BIW employees are screened onsite during work hours for cholesterol, blood pressure, Body Mass Index (BMI), body fat, blood sugar (including HbA1c), and other health risks. The program also provides a team of health coaches that meet one-on-one with participants to review results, educate about what they can do, and create short and long-term goals for sustained health improvement. 

Joining Mid Coast within the past year, the Fit for Life management team of Anthony Anderson, Program Manager, and Betsy Peixotto, Office Coordinator, work hard to create programs that meet the personal health needs of BIW employees. In addition to overseeing the screenings and health coaching, they develop engagement strategies and build program awareness by sharing personal success stories of those who have taken part.

"We have already seen significant health improvements in many of our participants,” said Anderson. "Through the screening process, we help employees identify potentially serious health risks. Through education and lifestyle changes many participants have been able to meet and sometimes exceed their health-related goals. Furthermore, by addressing specific health risks with our coaches, employees and dependents can save money on their annual health care costs and provide the company with an advantage in the marketplace.”

Brian LaBrecque, a mechanic at BIW, was among the first to participate in the health screenings. "My numbers were a little bit out? of whack and I was particularly uncomfortable with my weight,” he said. With the help of a health coach and a clear plan for success, Brian has already lost 28 pounds and almost four inches off his waist. More importantly, he feels great and has much more energy. He attributes much of his success to the support

Trockman commented, "The Fit for Life program has become a model for how we can work with businesses to improve the health of our community and positively impact the future of healthcare in our region.”
 
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