Beaver Dam, Wisconsin –August 28, 2018 – Blue Zones Project® Dodge County held a ribbon cutting celebration today recognizing Beaver Dam Unified School District as the newest worksite to become Blue Zones Project Approved™. This designation demonstrates the commitment of the school district and its wellness team to improve the well-being of employees by focusing on healthy eating, increased movement, and mindfulness.
“About four years ago, our wellness key performance objectives group came across The Blue Zones book. We read it and thought that there are a lot of great practices in here about being physically and mentally well and taking care of yourself, loving your family; and that all of it will improve us in our positions at work. We have tried to implement many of those best practices,” said Laura Maron, Beaver Dam School District Wellness Committee member and Washington Elementary School Principal.
Students and staff can both enjoy healthier food options at Beaver Dam Unified School District. To kick off the 2017-2018 school year, staff were treated to a catered lunch featuring dishes inspired by the five original Blue Zones areas. Using the best practice recommendations from the Blue Zones Project Restaurant Pledge, the school has optimized the cafeteria to make healthier choices easier. Few vending machines are used on campuses and the machines that are available hold predominantly milk, water, and 100% fruit juice. Staff also support one another in healthier food choices through Potluck Moais. A Moai® is a group of people that meet for a common purpose such as enjoying plant-based meals together or walking together.
Walking Moais were also formed throughout the district. The Walking Moais enjoy their walks on internal and external walking routes which have been posted on the wellness committee website. To limit the amount of time spent sitting, employees of Beaver Dam Unified School District utilize sit-to-stand desks and are encouraged to take micro-breaks throughout the day. When possible, meetings are conducted while walking or standing.
Along with the focus on moving more and eating healthier, employees are encouraged to downshift or destress, identify their purpose, and connect with other like-minded people who help encourage healthy choices. Staff recently participated in a Purpose Workshop and there are quiet spaces available for downshifting. Moais help to facilitate relationships that can be critical to well-being and professional development throughout the school year.
Bev Beal-Loeck, Beaver Dam School Board Member said, “Part of my life’s work has been in health care and I have seen the positive changes that can happen in your health when you make small, incremental changes. I’ve had the opportunity to see those changes and I have been happy to work with this committee. It is with gratitude and pride that I am happy to see the school district embrace the Blue Zones Project.”
Brought to Dodge County by Beaver Dam Community Hospitals, in collaboration with Sharecare, Inc. and Blue Zones, LLC, Blue Zones Project is a community-by-community well-being improvement initiative—designed to make healthy choices easier through sustainable changes to environment, policy, and social networks.
For details about becoming a Blue Zones Project Approved organization or general information about Blue Zones Project, Dodge County, call 920-212-8511, or visit dodgecounty.bluezonesproject.com.