Well-Ahead Louisiana is an initiative started by the Louisiana Department of Health (DHH) aimed at improving the health and wellness of Louisiana citizens. Well-Ahead promotes wellness in the spaces and places we live in.

One of the major components of Well-Ahead is worksite wellness. Most of us spend more waking hours in our workplace than our homes.

 "Together we can shape a future for our citizens where we are all able to live longer, better lives because we've made the choice to change," says LDH Secretary Kathy H. Kliebert. "It's essential to improve health and wellness - and it's never too late. I encourage Louisiana organizations and individuals to make small healthy lifestyle changes to the spaces where we spend the most time."

Worksite wellness includes: salad clubs, walking crew, take-the-stairs pledge, drinking water challenge, giving the gift of wellness not calories (related to office gift ideas), and cessation coaching. Holiday season is a great time to begin or energize worksite wellness.

Four components of staying Well-Ahead to think about in the workplace:

1.       Tobacco Free - Did you know the number of adult smokers in Louisiana could fill 8 tiger stadiums? Tobacco free environments are a critical component of healthy environments.

2.       Healthy Eating - We all know we are supposed to eat our fruits and vegetables, but with the great food culture in our state, sometimes those choices are hard to make. Create supportive healthy food environments.

3.       Balance - The Well-Ahead initiative is all about small organizational changes and leaders across the community voluntarily taking manageable steps toward health promotion. However, individual change starts with you. Create a healthy and balanced home. 

4.       On the go! - Whether you are at the gym or taking the stairs to work, the more you move, the better you feel. Organizations across the state have the opportunity to get everyone in Louisiana up and moving. Start your organization's journey toward better health.

There are upcoming events to participate in. Take your Well-Ahead pledge and photo at the Well-Ahead Louisiana booth with one of our partners, Louisiana Marathon, January 16-18. Let us know how you stay Well-Ahead of your health! Sign the tobacco free home pledge and show us how you live 5-2-1-0 with our props at the photo booth.

The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospital's Health Promotion Team is working with worksites, hospitals, schools, childcare centers, colleges/universities, and restaurants to help them meet wellness benchmarks, like being tobacco-free or breastfeeding friendly. A place or organization that has implemented voluntary, smart changes to making healthier living easier for all Louisiana citizens will be designated as a WellSpot.

Well-Ahead promotes voluntary changes without imposing new taxes or creating new rules. This is about Louisiana's people, leaders, businesses and organizations taking action because it is the right - and healthy - thing to do.

Visit the Well-Ahead web site, www.wellaheadla.com, to learn more, information on becoming a Wellspot, and worksite resources. You can also follow Well-Ahead for weekly tips on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

The Louisiana Department of Health strives to protect and promote health statewide and to ensure access to medical, preventive and rehabilitative services for all state citizens. To learn more about LDH, visit www.dhh.louisiana.gov. For up-to-date health information, news and emergency updates, follow DHH's Twitter account and Facebook