Thursday, February 14, 2013

Downs Food Group Employees Moving More and Eating Healthier!

Downs Food Group/Tony Downs Foods (DFG), a large poultry processing plant located in Watonwan County who employs a large minority workforce, has been busy making huge strides towards creating a healthier worksite for hundreds of employees. Downs Food Group is not new to encouraging healthy lifestyles with their employees. Over the past several years, health education has been provided each month to employees as well as ensuring employees have a tobacco free environment by implementing a tobacco-free grounds policy. SHIP funding allowed the worksite to implement more comprehensive, evidence-based strategies to improve employee health and wellbeing. These strategies include establishing wellness committees in each processing plant who oversee and provide suggestions to improving employee wellness. DFG has also recently adopted a comprehensive wellness policy which includes healthy vending, healthy catering and breastfeeding support for employees, tobacco-free grounds policies and cessation support and encouragement of community partnerships to improve physical activity opportunities for employees as well as encouragement of walking and biking to and from work.

To help implement this policy, DFG partnered with Anytime Fitness to reduce gym membership rates for employees. Additionally, DFG also partnered with a personal trainer to provide a fitness challenge. DFG also partnered with their local vendor to ensure 50% of the foods provided in the vending machines were healthier choices.
Moving forward, DFG is exploring the availability of offering stretching programs to reduce repetitive motion injuries; planning more wellness activities including more family oriented events and exploring ways to improve access to healthy foods through gardening and mobile farmers markets.
Congrats to DFG for helping to make Watonwan County a healthier place to live and work!

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