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					COUNTY OF VENTURA
WELLNESS PROGRAM

                 Annual Report
                  FY 2007-08




  Promoting Good Health to Help Manage Health Care Costs
         _______________________________________________________

    County Executive Office Human Resources Division
I.    Program Background
      Expenditures for health care in the United States have skyrocketed over the past decades.
      Much of the increased costs can be attributed to chronic diseases and conditions, which in
      many cases are lifestyle related. Employers are becoming more aware that unhealthy
      behaviors are adversely affecting the health and productivity of their employees and
      ultimately, their businesses’ bottom line. Consequently, increasing numbers of U.S.
      employers are offering health promotion and disease management programs at the
      worksite.

      In 1983, the County of Ventura experienced a 71% increase in medical claims. In response,
      the Board of Supervisors approved a Labor Management Committee recommendation to
      establish the County’s Wellness Program as part of the solution to contain escalating health
      care costs. The Wellness Program began operation in 1985. Over the years, the Wellness
      Program has faced a variety of reductions including the elimination of the $300
      participation incentive and the countywide policy allowing 14 hours of work-release time
      for employee attendance. Despite program cutbacks, the Wellness Program has continued
      to be well received and highly utilized by County employees. The Wellness Program has
      continued to provide cost-effective, comprehensive programs with tremendous impact on
      the health and wellbeing of County employees and their families.

      Since its inception, the Wellness Program has received recognition for improving employee
      health. In FY 07-08, the County of Ventura was recognized as one of “California’s
      Healthiest Employers” at the 2007 California Fit Business Awards ceremony. The
      California Fit Business Award is given annually by the California Task Force on Youth and
      Workplace Wellness seeking to recognize business models that promote a healthier
      workplace. The County of Ventura was the only county to receive a 2007 California Fit
      Business Award. In 2006, the County of Ventura was one of eight employers to receive the
      California Fit Business Award. According to Senator Torlakson, the Task Force Chair, “Fit
      Business Award winners provide examples of employers who are setting the standard for
      California businesses to follow.”

      Previous awards won by the County Wellness Program include: C. Everett Koop National
      Health Award, “Best Overall Program in the Public Sector” Health Action Leadership
      Award, National Association of Counties (NACo) Achievement Award, Governor’s
      Council on Physical Fitness and Sports Commendation, National Association for Worksite
      Health Promotion Business and Industry Award and the Exemplary Public Worksite Health
      Promotion Program Award by the National Association of Public Worksite Health
      Promotion, in association with the Council of State Governments.

II.   Program Design/Activities
      The overall goal of the County’s Wellness Program is to help control increases in medical
      costs. The primary objectives are as follows:
      1. Provide education and resources to help employees identify and reduce health risks
          before serious health problems occur.
      2. Provide special follow-up and assistance to employees identified at highest risk for
          preventable illnesses and excessive medical costs.
      3. When health problems do exist, help employees better manage their condition and use
          health care services more wisely.
County of Ventura                                                       Wellness Program Annual Report
Human Resources Division                        1                                          FY 2007-08
      The primary way in which employees identify their own personal health risks is through
      the Personal Wellness Profile (PWP) Program. The PWP Program provides employees
      with a computerized health risk appraisal. It includes a comprehensive lifestyle assessment
      and physical measurements of blood pressure, body mass index, waist/hip ratio, total
      cholesterol, HDL, LDL, triglycerides, glucose and total cholesterol/HDL ratio. Employees
      receive their results and set goals for personal change at a follow-up group seminar. All
      participants discovered with high-risk conditions receive prompt personal follow-up and
      referrals as appropriate.

      Results from well-conducted randomized trials suggest that providing risk reduction
      counseling for high-risk employees within the context of a comprehensive program is a
      critical component of an effective worksite health promotion program. The Wellness
      Program offers Health Track, a cost-effective intervention aimed at those employees at
      highest risk. PWP participants identified with significant risk factors are invited to join
      Health Track. Participants are assigned a Health Track coach who teaches, assists, guides
      and supports them with difficult lifestyle changes and disease management. Health Track
      coaches are health professionals such as Registered Dieticians, Exercise Physiologists,
      Nurse Educators or Certified Diabetes Educators who provide individual consultation
      supplemented with phone contacts, e-mails, educational materials and resource referrals.

      The Wellness Program also provides educational classes for employees with chronic
      illnesses to help them better manage their condition and to assist them in making wiser use
      of medical services. The Wellness Program especially focuses on diabetes management
      since the incidence of diabetes has been increasing at alarming rates nationwide. In FY 07-
      08, the Wellness Program offered a “Living Well with Diabetes” series with additional
      follow-up sessions provided throughout the year. Classes were offered on other chronic
      conditions such as high blood pressure, back pain, cholesterol, arthritis and depression.

      The Wellness Program offers classes for all employees focusing on risk reduction topics
      such as nutrition, stress management, weight management, exercise and smoking cessation.
      With overweight and obesity being the leading modifiable risk factor for type 2 diabetes
      and other chronic diseases, the Wellness Program continued providing lifestyle change
      weight loss series and support to employee organized weight loss contests in FY 07-08.
      The Wellness Program also continued to work in collaboration with the County’s
      Employee Assistance and Work/Life Programs to offer the Balancing Work and Family,
      Prenatal, Parenting and Elder Care Support programs.

      Efforts have continued to make the Wellness Program accessible to more employees. In FY
      07-08, the Personal Wellness Profile Program and Health Track Program were extended to
      County employees and their spouses at 13 different work locations. The Wellness Program
      offered Yoga series at five different worksites. Wellness education was provided at the
      Probation Department’s Fitness for Law Enforcement Day as well as at Fire Department,
      WIC and DCSS employee trainings. In FY 07-08 the Wellness Program presented stress
      management modules as part of the Employee Assistance Program’s Building Resiliency in
      the Workplace series, at Public Health and VCMC locations.

      The Wellness Program has continued working to create an environment more supportive of
      healthy living. For example, the Wellness Program website provides walking maps for

County of Ventura                                                      Wellness Program Annual Report
Human Resources Division                       2                                          FY 2007-08
      several County work locations to encourage walking at breaks and lunch. The website also
      includes a listing of health clubs throughout the County that offer special discounts for
      County employees and their families. In FY 07-08 the Wellness Program especially
      focused on helping County employees make healthier food choices from the Bistro 800 and
      Marketplace sites at the Government Center as supported by the Employee Health and
      Wellness Policy in the County’s Administrative Manual. In cooperation with ISSI
      Foodservice, efforts included: additional healthier offerings, prominent point-of-choice
      signage and literature directing employees to healthier choices, a pamphlet listing over 30
      brand name products available at Government Center concessions that meet Wellness
      Program criteria for healthy snack choices and an incentive program that rewards
      employees for purchasing healthier meals with a special Healthier Choice entrée discount
      card at the Bistro 800. The Wellness Program also completed two trans fat audits in
      support of the County’s trans fat ban at the Bistro 800 and Marketplace sites.

III. Program Participation
     Participation in the Wellness Program has remained strong as shown in Table 1. In FY 07-
     08, 749 participants completed the Personal Wellness Profile Program and 106 new
     participants joined the Health Track high-risk coaching program. Wellness Program classes
     were attended by approximately 3,295 participants and 372 class sessions were offered for
     a total of 4,251 training hours. Class training hours are defined as the total number of class
     hours attended by participants. Almost all of those training hours were attended on the
     employee’s own time, usually during their lunch hour. Employee interest in Wellness
     classes is actually much greater than reflected in program participation statistics. If
     calculations included employees who had signed up for classes, but were unable to attend,
     total class training hours would have been almost twice as high.

                                              Table 1
                           Comparison of Wellness Program Participation
                                            1995-2008
             Year             PWPs    Health Track Class Sessions Class Attendance
          1995-96              529         70            152            1,533
          1996-97              668         82            196            2,542
          1997-98              636         90            198            2,335
          1998-99              949        170            217            1,933
          1999-00              879        143            290            2,808
          2000-01              845        140            267            2,706
          2001-02              856        146            282            2,881
          2002-03              889        132            278            2,805
          2003-04              892        145            280            2,746
          2004-05              838        171            325            3,284
          2005-06              725        160            301            2,700
          2006-07              761        129            362            2,909
          2007-08              749        106            372            3,295




County of Ventura                                                        Wellness Program Annual Report
Human Resources Division                        3                                           FY 2007-08
IV. Risks Identified and Reduced
    The County Wellness Program has been extremely successful in identifying and reducing
    risk factors associated with today’s leading causes of death, disability and medical expense.
    Table 2 summarizes the risks identified among those who joined the Personal Wellness
    Profile Program in FY 07-08. The Wellness Program referred 122 participants for elevated
    blood pressure follow-up and 133 participants received follow-up letters or calls for
    elevated glucose levels. Only a small percentage of those identified with high risks were
    previously aware of their condition. For example, only 4% of the participants identified
    with elevated blood sugar reported a personal history of diabetes.

      Table 3 displays results reported by Health Track participants about a year after entering
      the program. A comparison of actual clinical test results of FY 07-08 participants with their
      prior year results, confirm participants have significantly reduced their health risks. The
      comparison showed:
       • 59% of those with high cholesterol reduced their cholesterol below the high risk range.
       • 57% of those with high blood pressure lowered their blood pressure to normal levels.
       • 49% of those with elevated glucose levels lowered their glucose below the pre-diabetic
          level.



                                                Table 2
                    Initial Status of Personal Wellness Profile Participants
                                           FY 2007-08
             Percentage                                    Factors
             22% (158)      Had a family history of heart disease (before age 55).
             62% (445)      Need more exercise.
             44% (317)      Had cholesterol over recommended level.
               6% (43)      Used tobacco.
             68% (492)      Were over the recommended weight.
             16% (117)      Had high blood pressure.
             25% (188)      Had a significant stress sign present.
             69% (498)      Had a poor nutritional score.
             18% (127)      Had diabetes/high blood sugar.
             45% (326)      Had a moderate to high coronary risk.




County of Ventura                                                        Wellness Program Annual Report
Human Resources Division                        4                                           FY 2007-08
                                                  Table 3
                                           Health Track
                     Self-Reported Individual Progress Data – 1993-2008
                   How have you done in the following areas?    Yes                           No
          1.   Have you increased your physical activity?                 87% (364) 13% (54)
          2.   If you were overweight, have you lost weight?              68% (242) 32% (115)
          3.   Have you increased your use of seat belts?                 75% (112) 25% (37)
          4.   Are you drinking less alcohol (including beer and wine)?   71% (103) 29% (43)
          5.   Have you reduced or quit smoking?                           67% (34) 33% (17)
          6. If blood pressure was elevated, have you lowered it?         86% (166)       14% (28)
          7. If glucose was elevated, have you lowered it?                89% (108)       11% (14)
          8. Have you reduced your intake of fat?                         90% (368)       10% (42)
          9. Have you increased your intake of whole grains, fruit
                                                                          93% (395)         7% (29)
              and vegetables?
          10. Have you reduced your intake of sodium?                     72% (243)       28% (95)



V. Medical Savings
   A number of health risks have been shown to be associated with higher medical claims.
   Presence of multiple combinations of risk factors provides a better prediction of future
   claims experience than any single factor. An analysis of the initial risk factor combinations
   of County Wellness participants conducted by Wellsource, an industry leader in Health
   Assessment and Prevention Systems, is shown in Table 4. From this analysis, Wellsource
   calculated the average preventable cost per County Wellness participant is $4,658 per year.
   Since it is unlikely all risks would actually be reduced, Wellsource estimated a more
   conservative or achievable preventable cost per participant of $2,044 per year. Applying
   this more conservative estimate just to those who participated in the Personal Wellness
   Profile Program this past year, the County could potentially avoid $1,475,479 per year in
   unnecessary medical costs. Factoring just this conservative cost saving estimate alone
   with the Wellness Program FY 07-08 budget, these savings translate into over a $3
   return on every dollar invested in the Wellness Program. These savings are within the
   range reported by other worksite health promotion programs with similar program
   components.




County of Ventura                                                         Wellness Program Annual Report
Human Resources Division                         5                                           FY 2007-08
                                              Table 4
                                  Medical Claims Evaluation
                       Initial Risk Factor Combinations – FY 2007-08
                     Number of Risk Factors             Percent of People
            0 Risk Factors                                        19.1% (138)
            1 Risk Factor                                         24.8% (179)
            2 to 3 Risk Factors                                   35.2% (254)
            4 to 5 Risk Factors                                   16.1% (116)
            6 or more Risk Factors                                  4.8% (35)


VI. Participant Satisfaction
    At the end of each program, participants complete evaluation forms. Participants
    consistently give the highest ratings possible for Wellness programs offered. On the
    evaluation forms, many participants express their appreciation for the increased awareness,
    improvements in health status, and overall improvement in quality of life. Following are
    sample comments from participants in FY 07-08.

      “I have lost 50+ pounds, and I'm in much better physical shape than before taking
      advantage of the Wellness Program.”

      “The Wellness Program brought to my attention that I had pre-diabetes and helped by
      providing me with one on- one-counseling and has helped me prevent this serious disease.”

      “I was close to having a stroke or heart attack last year and now only have to work on my
      cholesterol and the health coach from Wellness is helping me. I also learned a lot about
      managing my asthma in a class yesterday.”

      “Because of the Wellness Program I have been able to lower my cholesterol and improve
      my sugar count dramatically.”

      “My stress levels are better kept in check by the yoga class. I feel so much better and I
      know I do a better job at work. Thank you.”

      “The Wellness Program has been great, and has helped me nutritionally, physically,
      mentally, and keeps me feeling like the County is a good place to work.”

      See Attachment “A” for a more complete list of participants’ comments from FY 07-08.


VII. Conclusion
     Preventable illness makes up a large portion of the nation’s health care costs. A growing
     number of scientific studies have established the ability of worksite health promotion
     programs to decrease health care costs. From 1980 to 1991, 24 published studies evaluating
     worksite health promotion were reported in the New England Journal of Medicine. All 24

County of Ventura                                                     Wellness Program Annual Report
Human Resources Division                      6                                          FY 2007-08
      indicated positive health benefits and every study that analyzed for cost benefits
      demonstrated a positive effect. Since that time, more than 100 additional studies have been
      reviewed and again demonstrated positive outcomes. Increasingly, the evidence supporting
      the cost-effectiveness of comprehensive health promotion programs is becoming more
      compelling.

      The County’s health plans will spend millions of dollars this year to treat the illnesses of
      employees and their families. For only a tiny fraction of what the County will spend on
      treatment, the Wellness Program provides an important investment in prevention. It makes
      more sense and cents to pay the small cost for an employee to attend a cholesterol
      education program instead of the high fees associated with bypass surgery or stroke
      recovery; or to provide employees with education on breast self-examination and
      mammography instead of paying the costs involved with mastectomy, chemotherapy, etc.,
      or to pay the small price for prenatal education instead of the tragic costs of a low birth
      weight baby.

      The results of the County’s Wellness Program to date and the individual testimonies
      received from participants guarantee the Wellness Program will benefit the well-being of
      County employees and have a significant impact on medical costs not only this year, but
      well into the future.




County of Ventura                                                       Wellness Program Annual Report
Human Resources Division                        7                                          FY 2007-08
                                      Attachment “A”
                       Sample of Comments from Wellness Participants
                                   Fiscal Year 2007-2008

“I have lost 50+ pounds, and I'm in much better physical shape than before taking advantage of
the Wellness Program.”

“The Wellness Program brought to my attention that I had pre-diabetes and helped by providing
me with one on-one-counseling and has helped me prevent this serious disease.”

“I was close to having a stroke or heart attack last year and now only have to work on my
cholesterol and the health coach from Wellness is helping me. I also learned a lot about
managing my asthma in a class yesterday.”

“Because of the Wellness Program I have been able to lower my cholesterol and improve my
sugar count dramatically.”

“My stress levels are better kept in check by the yoga class. I feel so much better and I know I do
a better job at work. Thank you.”

“The Wellness Program has been great, and has helped me nutritionally, physically, mentally,
and keeps me feeling like the County is a good place to work.”

“I started exercising and eating smaller portions and I can really see the results in my
cholesterol. I'm now in a healthy range. Thanks.”

“My results from last time I participated in Wellness lead to my finding out I was diabetic. I have
been under the care of my doctor since that time. It started a healthier lifestyle for me.”

“I lost twenty pounds during the ten week weight loss program and significantly lowered my
blood pressure. I am also borderline diabetic and believe that my doctor will see significant
improvement when I have follow-up testing done in June.”

“The Wellness Program encourages me to stay healthy and the Wellness Profile is very helpful. I
can bring the results to my Dr. to include in my regular Dr. visits.”

“The information received here is very helpful. We are all very busy and taking the time to
research this information is not always possible. The meetings are at convenient times and
locations. The information that I have learned will help me cope with my problems.”

“After my first pregnancy I lost almost 20lbs with the wellness program (loose 10lb in 10 weeks
and the cooking classes). Now I had my second baby and I hope I can do again. Thank you!
Everything has been valuable as I evaluate myself and make life time changes.”

“Have started to eat healthier and increase my physical activities. Started to loose weight and
hopefully reach my goal! Thanks so much for the wonderful classes you offer us.”

“The Wellness Program keeps you up on how you are health wise and acts as a reminder to
make correct changes in our lifestyles. I really appreciate the Wellness program! Thank you.”
County of Ventura                                                        Wellness Program Annual Report
Human Resources Division                        8                                           FY 2007-08
“The Wellness Program provided insight into numerous areas; very valuable information for the
betterment of daily life.”

“It is a wonderful benefit that more should take advantage.”

“I've lost 50 pounds (5 years ago) and been able to keep it off. My cholesterol levels and blood
pressure have improved since I changed my life practices.”

“The Wellness Profile encouraged me to pursue my health more committedly.”

“The Wellness Profile reminds me to be more aware of proper eating and fitness for a healthy
lifestyle. Changes made to improve my health have been a great example for my grand children.
I could not have done it without your help and support.”

“While I knew certain information, an event such as this Wellness assessment review re-enforces
the need to make some changes.”

“The Wellness Program has provided some goals and inspiration in a supportive environment to
induce a change in my lifestyle.”

“The Wellness Profile gives you a basis to improve on.”

 “This is a great program! I have changed my eating and exercising habits based on data
received in the program.”

“The Wellness Program made me more conscientious of what I eat and exercise.”

“The Wellness Profile reminds me, in specifics, of things that I need to do to improve my long
term health.”

“It's an eye opener.”

“I have been participating approx 10 years now!! and I enjoy seeing my blood work results since
a regular MD visit does not have this info. I enjoy getting my emails each year reminding me to
sign up and take care of myself for free!”

“The Wellness Profile shows the things I have to work on the most. Keeping me mindful about
and preventing possible future health problems.”

“The Wellness Profile helps me keep track of my cholesterol level yearly.”

“Currently going to Physical Therapy and with the short time allotted have not been able to fully
understand "core muscles". [The Wellness Exercise Physiologist] helped me to isolate and use
these muscles to better advantage in my seeking to improve my back pain.”

“My eating has changed and become more healthy and I have started to really "get it" how
important food and exercise is!!”

County of Ventura                                                       Wellness Program Annual Report
Human Resources Division                        9                                          FY 2007-08
“The Wellness Program is helping me keep my new years resolutions.”

“As I've been taking the classes you offer, I feel that my health is getting so much better. I am
more aware of things that I wasn't before. Thanks so much, please keep offering these classes.
The teacher you have are absolutely great!”

 “In the Wellness classes I have gone to in the past 17 years, there is a brief respite of knowing,
there is a better way of doing things, such as "Back Pain No More" or hearing other opinions
and getting to share about struggles, in the Elder Care Support Group, which lessens personal
stress.”

“This was very informative and I enjoyed having the results in a book form so I could
understand them. The Wellness Program has changed my eating habits.”

“The Wellness Program has helped me to walk on breaks. Then I walk on the weekends.”

“I think it's important to have the opportunities to learn more about whole body fitness. With the
hours that we work, many times it's hard for us to participate in programs outside of work, so I
think the Wellness Program is an invaluable resource to the County of Ventura.”

“I am more aware of calories content, hidden sugars and unhealthy fats.”

“The Wellness Profile, as well as the ongoing classes I attend such as cooking and Yoga, have
improved my health and lifestyle by increasing my knowledge and motivation to live healthier
and make healthier choice.”

“I cooked something I learned about in the last class that was healthy and easy and tasted good.
I am excited to try another new healthy recipe that I learned today that is easy.”

“This was the first thing I've attended and I think that it will broaden my horizon.”

“The Wellness Program has been instrumental in helping me live a healthier lifestyle.”

“I love to walk - will keep walking. Thank you.”

“The Fun Walk encourages me to incorporate exercise into my day. I've been trying to walk (the
1 mile walk) during lunch since then (managed to walk 4 out of the 5 days.)”

“The Wellness Profile increased my awareness and the need to make changes to reduce risk for
adverse medical conditions.”

“I love my blood work up. I get to view the results and improved my health. Thanks.”

“I was surprised to find that some of my lab results are out of range despite my efforts and I
now recognize that I need to make additional changes. Prevention is always the best defense.”

“The Wellness Profile made me more aware of the healthy changes I need to make in my life.”


County of Ventura                                                         Wellness Program Annual Report
Human Resources Division                         10                                          FY 2007-08
“The Weight Loss Instructor started simple, 4 fruits, 4 veggies, 8 cups water, walk 30 mins. I
started losing immediately. It is easier to start good habits than break bad ones. The good habits
eventually replace the bad ones. As the instructor went on, we learned about fat, fiber, protein,
food pyramid etc. The simple start began a good habit. Adding these "harder" steps to it was
easy. By the end of the class, I had lost almost all my bad habits. I just got back from a week's
vacation in Laughlin - all you can eat buffet's etc. I gained less than a pound - maybe even
stayed the same by walking, sticking to fruits, veggies, salads, egg beaters, water, etc., at the
buffets.”

“Lost over 15 pounds. My blood pressure is consistently about 104/64 to 110/70. I wear a size
smaller pants, had to buy a new belt. I never feel starved. I am very near goal. I am exercising
every day, and have a lot more energy at work. Several people have noticed and complimented
me on my weight.”

 “I accept that I need to be more healthy to have a better quality of life. I feel cared about that
there is a wellness program accessible to me if I need it.”

“I am walking regularly with a partner 3-4 times per week and find that just this change has
helped me to feel better, sleep better, function better.”

“I lost 10 pounds. I have more to lose, and I plan to take the class again as I know that
participating in a structured program works better for me than trying to go it alone from a
book.”

“I have learned how to keep my goals and stick to them. Better informed on making healthier
choices for myself and family. I have gained some wonderful knowledge! : ) Thank you so much
for offering such wonderful classes, especially the Lose 10 Pounds in 10 Weeks class. I loved the
instructors attitude, personality, and enthusiasm on teaching her class. I looked forward to it
each week.”

“One of my goals was to stop drinking Diet Coke and drink more water. I was concerned about
drinking so much aspartame. This class really encouraged me to drink 8 glasses of water. It was
hard at first but now that I am in the habit I find that I actually get thirsty and Diet Coke is not
what I want to quench my thirst. Water is actually what I want to drink now. I would not have
believed it.”

The instructor showed us how to have a plan of eating and the right foods to choose. Wellness
Programs are a motivator for employees. It should continue.”

“Wellness has helped me shift my focus to my health and the power I have as an individual to
make healthy differences that make my life better. I cannot stress enough that this program is the
catalyst for change and awareness.”

“The Wellness Program has been helping me to keep my health life style on track.”

“The wellness profile pushed me to reduce my blood pressure to normal limits. The 10 pounds
class has made me aware of bad eating habits (and seeing that good habits are not difficult to
adopt!). The 10 Pounds class also made me realize that I enjoy walking for exercise!”

County of Ventura                                                          Wellness Program Annual Report
Human Resources Division                          11                                          FY 2007-08
“I am paying more attention to my diet and taking better care of myself.”

“The Wellness Program has changed and improved my health and life by getting me away from
the office. I now take walks on my breaks and leave my desk at lunch.”

“I lost four pounds while taking the course. For some people, that may not sound like an
accomplishment but for me, it is. I have started walking for 45 minutes a day instead of 30 since
taking the class.”

“I am 11 pounds skinnier, have more energy and feel better.”

“The program has helped me greatly particularly in the area of nutrition and overall well being.
I participate annually in the Wellness checks and CPR classes bi-annually and various classes
throughout the year. This is truly a great Program offered to Co. employees!”

“Gained knowledge and some of the signs and solutions for anxiety.”

“Classes I have taken before have helped me to manage through tough times. Parenting class,
nutrition classes, weight management classes, and also the wellness profile - what great
information!”

“The Wellness Profile helps you see your lifestyle in print helping better identify problems and
giving suggestions on how to improve all.”

“I am eating better and exercising consistently.”

“The cooking class has made me aware about how I can improve my diet.”

“The class made you aware of healthy, easy, yummy alternative to traditional dishes. It also
made me aware of the high salt content in a lot of the foods.”

“I am getting healthier food recipes for my family. It's a wonderful thing to be able to attend a
class to enrich your life. We are at work so much and often times are unable to attend classes on
these topics. This is great!”

“The class has made me aware that we can make changes to our lifestyles for the better and
given me guidelines to follow to improve my health.”

“The cholesterol class has educated me as to the levels of calories, fats, carbs that I need to stay
within when planning meals. The instructor makes it fun and informative.”

“The Wellness Program has motivated me to eat a lot more fruits and vegetables, and I will
never be able to get greasy corn chips again.”

“I will be implementing some of the suggestions from this class which should help reduce my
cholesterol level.”

 “Wellness program gave me the tools on how to improve my health and my family health thru
the classes I attended about food, cholesterol, etc. It also gave the tools on how to deal with
County of Ventura                                                         Wellness Program Annual Report
Human Resources Division                         12                                          FY 2007-08
children thru the parenting classes. I think the wellness program is an excellent program to
improve over all employees' life. It is great.”

“The Wellness Program has provided ways to get access for preventive health and alternative
ways to plan future and manage family life and work.”

The programs have been relevant to issues or circumstances that I have been dealing with.
Therefore with the information obtained has lead to changes that may or may not have happened
without the programs.”

“The Wellness Program heightened my awareness of my own health issues and resolving them.”

“I have attended numerous classes throughout the last few years and they are always good and
informative. I appreciate this benefit as a County employee.”

“I've learned how to be a better parent, how to cook healthy meals, and how to take better care
of my own health. What more is there to say? It's an awesome program and I feel thankful to
have access to it.”

“It helps relief some stress on getting this taken care of. More peace of mind.”

 “I have 4 children ranging from 16 years to 4 months old, boys & girls. This class gave me a
better understanding of their individual behaviors and feelings, be it boy or girl OR teen or
toddler. It provided helpful tools to use to gain cooperation from everyone without all the chaos.
I look forward to the next class.”

“We as parents are not born knowing how to raise our children and these courses are really
helpful.”

“The parenting class provides me with new tools for making my home life smoother. It reduces
my overall stress and makes my family happier.”

“The Wellness Program helps me find ways to handle personal problems as well as helps me to
keep track of my health.”

“I have taken a variety of classes, especially the ones that have to do with weight loss, fitness,
nutrition and health. Besides my physical health I also need support and assistance with my
family life. As a single parent with two children I sometimes feel overwhelmed. In a class like
this one and Positive Parenting, I get to hear from other parents (that may be in my same
situation) and suggestions that might help. The Wellness program has definitely helped improve
the way I eat, I try to make healthier choices. I'm still working on changing my lifestyle to
improve my overall health.”

“I have only attended one program and I have already put to use the suggestions on how to
speak to my children. Thank you.”

“The class schedules work well with my work schedule and the handout materials keep me well
informed of [asthma] health aids.”

County of Ventura                                                        Wellness Program Annual Report
Human Resources Division                        13                                          FY 2007-08
‘The Wellness Program has helped me lower my blood pressure, my Glycemic Index and now
we're working on my weight and cholesterol. My health coach is the best and follows up with
me.”

“The wellness program encourages a healthier lifestyle and makes everyone, management
included, more aware of the value of exercise and healthy living.”

“I am losing weight after attending the Wellness classes. I'm using the info that I learned from
the class.”

 “I look forward to this weekly Yoga class. It helps me re-focus and relax, and I return to work
refreshed, and better able to tackle my workload.”

“These Yoga classes are highly desirable to assist in practicing stretches after sitting at a desk
all day.”

“A weekly yoga session is a great way to calm oneself and relieve stress during a hectic
workweek. It helps me empty my mind of work worries. It also helps with posture and stretching
tight shoulder, neck, and arm/wrist muscles after sitting at a keyboard most of the day.”

“I had not tried yoga, so I really did not know what it would involve. This class introduced me to
yoga and the instructor is great. I gained a lot of knowledge on this exercise program. I joined a
health club that offers yoga. I attend these classes as well. I was better prepared for them. I
usually go after work. By the time I get home, I feel de-stressed and have energy to get some
things done there. I have also noticed some muscle strengthening. My attitude is positive and I
feel happy.”

“The yoga class increases my energy and gives me a new spring in my step. My outlook in life
looks more positive and I feel so revitalized and refreshed.”

“I've noticed less pain in my back, which has a disk problem.”

“The yoga is a great stress reducer and I need the stretching to strengthen certain muscle groups
after sitting for hours at a computer. Having a good instructor makes all the difference.”

“The Friday class helps me reduce stress, relax my back, and get back to work refreshed for an
afternoon of work.”

“I truly appreciate the Friday yoga classes. They are a great and convenient way to encourage
exercise, relaxation and stress relief during the lunch hour. Thanks for making this available!”

“I am diabetic and I know that Yoga has helped my blood sugar levels.”

“I probably wouldn't have time to exercise otherwise, so the class helps me stay healthy.”

“Extremely convenient location and time. I am able to participate during my lunch time, along
with other employees. Otherwise I might not do it at home by my self.”


County of Ventura                                                        Wellness Program Annual Report
Human Resources Division                        14                                          FY 2007-08
“This program has definitely improved my health/life because it has made me more aware of
how one's lifestyle can affect one's health and well being.”

“I'm healthier, leaner and working towards a goal of total health and wellness!!!!”

“Well I am a borderline diabetic and because yoga has been available to me through work I am
able to keep doing it there by actually making me lose weight. Thereby, being less at risk of
becoming diabetic and for that I am eternally thankful to the county of ventura!!!”

“THE WELLNESS PROGRAM HELPED MY SISTER STOP SMOKING AND LOSE WEIGHT.”

“Improvements nutritionally, helpful hints with problems, and feeling of community. The classes
also add some fun to the workday.”

“The Wellness Program encouraged me to lose weight 50 pounds in the last 2 years.”

“It got me to focus on nutritional excellence: My cholesterol and glucose levels are now well
within normal ranges.”

“The Wellness Program makes you more aware of health issues and more likely to take better
care of yourself.”

“The Wellness Profile reinforces the good things I am currently doing and highlights what I
might do to improve.”

“The Wellness Profile helps me to keep myself on a healthier lifestyle by tracking my cholesterol,
blood sugar, etc. from year to year.”

“Yoga class was the absolute best for stress relief and greater concentration at work. The
Wellness Profiles have been instructive and definitely helped motivate me to healthier
practices.”

“The Wellness Program helped me get back on track. I now workout more regularly & eat
healthier. The results of my tests made me realize that I needed to do more about my health.”

“Have lost 1.1 body mass. Which is a good thing to me. I'm still not at 25 or less but I hope to be
there at my own pace which is good. I have been keeping the weight off, eating healthy and
getting exercise by walking.”

“Alerted me to the fact that I am diabetic.”

“I JUST THINK ITS A GREAT BENIFIT TO EMPLOYEES.”

“More conscious of healthy choices and decisions for self and family. Strive to be more healthy.
Gave me great guidelines to follow to help me accomplish my goal weight.”

“It helped me to understand some issues. My blood pressure was very high and now is lower
with medication from my Doctor.”

County of Ventura                                                        Wellness Program Annual Report
Human Resources Division                        15                                          FY 2007-08
“I truly believe this is a good program, because it spots problems to present to the doctor when
not feeling sick.”

“Made me aware of what I can do to improve & maintain good health. ed. about nutrition &
how to reduce & control my blood sugars. Thanks health coach.”

“I have lost 35 pounds since November 2007, improved my diet and increased my exercise.”

“The Wellness Program makes you more aware to see how your lifestyle on the outside affects
you on the inside.”

“The wellness program reminds you that you should take care of yourself to prolong your life.
And when you do, you feel better everyday.”

“Thank you for providing good service in the health area.”

“I enjoy the Wellness Program because I feel I actually get more information from them than my
General Practitioner. I like having the tangible results in black and white and being able to
monitor my progress from year to year.”

“I realize that I had to lose weight or I could become ill. This program was the jumpstart I
needed.”

“Based on the information I received from the Wellness Program I have lost 25 lbs. and kept
them off. I am more aware of the food that I am eating and making an effort to make healthier
choices.”

“The Wellness Program has helped me see specific areas in which I can work to improve my
overall health.”

“Monitoring has made me aware of the impacts of my choices and has given me information I
can use with my doctor.”

“Love the Yoga class. Yoga helps you maintain flexibility which helps you in your job and the
best thing of all if that it helps you lower your stress levels on the job. Thank you for offering
these types of classes.”

“Absolute life-saver in terms of stress management which, not only is important for my work
place, but my personal life as well. THANK YOU.”

 “It made me more aware of what to watch for; keeps me reminded (because I tend to slack off);
it changed my eating habits and if I went back to my old habits, the Wellness Program never fails
to remind us of some type health issue; and it lets me know that the County cares about the
employees.”

“Exercise is now a part of my life. My Health coach helps me with problem solving / life / health
issue and helping me with my focus and direction. I am in a good place because of the positive
changes. My quality of life has improved.”

County of Ventura                                                          Wellness Program Annual Report
Human Resources Division                         16                                           FY 2007-08
“I have lost 20 pounds eating the healthy way.”

“Great exercises! Will use them and encourage my co-workers to take the class or do the
exercises. Makes you think of situations that I never thought of before. This class was very
helpful, keep up the good work.”

“The cooking classes have helped me make better choices in making nutritious meals.”

“Thank you. Please always continue this class. This yoga class improves lives and is a life
changing experience.”

“This class has given me knowledge on stretching and relief of painful areas. Very relaxing and
energizing at the same time.”

“I really benefited from the yoga classes over these past few years as I could never afford to take
them on my own. I’m refreshed and rejuvenated after the class, and have more energy feel better
and stronger. Thank you.”

“Great class! Always has great quick and tasty meals. Keep these cooking classes coming!”

“I’m just glad the wellness program is available to us. I’m going to try and attend more
classes.”

“The class made me feel I was not alone on my challenges and issues. There were many good
suggestions by all.”

“This will help me develop core strength so its not so easy to hurt my back. Thanks!”

“The wellness program keeps me informed and motivated. I feel like I get a lot out of each class.
I am appreciative of the programs and benefits offered to the employees. Thank you!”

“The wellness program offers important information to keep healthy. I appreciate the variety of
classes available both to employee and spouse.”

 “The wellness program has helped and continues to help me monitor my health level as it
relates to my life style choices and allows me to see how those choices affect my health for the
good or the bad to see if and when further changes are necessary.”

I found all the classes beneficial & am very thankful that I could participate in my own office
instead of having to drive over to the Govt Ctr (& arrange extra time away from work w/my
boss). The instructor was great... as I'm sure you know! Your diet, nutrition & exercise classes
have all really helped me get & stay motivated to live a healthier lifestyle. In the past 13 months,
I've lost 50 pounds, gone from a size 18 to 12, and, more importantly, lowered my blood pressure
from 124/85 to 110/75! Last July walking a 1/2 mile was a chore; this week I ran on the
treadmill for 10 minutes after spending an hour on the elliptical. So, I am proof that the classes
& encouragement provided to us are really beneficial. I am very thankful for this County
employee program.”


County of Ventura                                                         Wellness Program Annual Report
Human Resources Division                        17                                           FY 2007-08