Worksite Wellness’ Survivor Challenge helps state employees lose weight and eat better

June 5, 2018

The employees of the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) and the Georgia Department of Human Services (DHS) were successful for the second year during the 2017-18 Holiday VI Survivor Challenge.  There were 122 state employees who participated in the 10-week program designed to help employees avoid weight gain and improve daily physical activity.

Outcomes from the challenge are measured by the College of Public Health at the University of Georgia and Workplace Health Group Evaluations. They consistently show that employees lose extra pounds.  The data is also used for future public health initiatives.

“We collect and analyze the data and use those numbers to drive other public health programming,” said Commissioner J. Patrick O’Neal from DPH. “The data collected from participants was tremendous. I congratulate our employees and celebrate with them for losing weight and sustaining that weight. DPH is also grateful for the work of our Worksite Wellness Team and our partnership with DHS.”

Maria Fontenelle, program manager for DPH’s Healthy Communities and District Liaison for the Chronic Disease Prevention Section, is the overall winner of the challenge. She lost 29 pounds. Commissioner O’Neal presented Fontenelle with $600 for her accomplishment. Fontenelle continues to watch her food choices and participates in daily physical activities. She has lost a total of 39 pounds and is close to losing 10 more pounds to reach her ideal weight.

Fontenelle’s decision to make overalll health changes was her motivation to enter the 10-week challenge. She started walking and averaged nine to ten miles daily. She managed food choices and controlled portion sizes at every meal.  She also replaced foods loaded with sugar and empty calories with fruits and vegetables. 

“I was motivated to go back to what I learned as a child—eating lots of fruits and vegetables, and finding more time to exercise,” said Fontenelle. “I haven’t felt this good in a long time, and I’m getting more sleep each night.”

Fontenelle has reached another milestone. She recently completed Emory’s Diabetes Training and Technical Assistance Center (DTTAC) which is training on curriculum for diabetes prevention and management. She is a trained DTTAC Lifestyle Coach, and she can provide skills, knowledge and experience to successfully facilitate the program.

“It can be done, and I want to help others stay motivated on their weight loss and fitness journey,” she said.  “After completing the 14 hours of training to serve as a Lifestyle Coach, I am prepared to deliver the evidence-based National Diabetes Prevention Program for workshops at DPH. The basis of the program is physical activity and nutrition.”

About the Author

You might like...

June 5, 2018

Ashley Moore, MPH, is an epidemiologist at the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) and she is accustomed to helping find the cause of diseases, illnesses and outbreaks and providing solutions to stop the spread of the disease to save lives… 

September 5, 2017

Governor Nathan Deal designated August 21-25 Flag Football Week in Georgia. In honor of that, the Atlanta Falcons Youth Foundation donated flag football equipment to 80 elementary schools and 79 middle schools (159 schools total) in counties throughout the state, reaching more than 30,000 boys and girls in Georgia schools. Through the new initiative, Rise Up! 159, the Falcons will provide NFL Flag Football kits for teachers to use in P.E. classes during the 2017-18 school year. The NFL Flag Football curriculum increases the time children spend in physical activity.

August 1, 2017

The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) will participate in the annual Kaiser Permanente Corporate Run/Walk with the State of Georgia team on Thursday, Sept. 7 at 7 p.m. The 5K or 3.1 mile race will begin at the Georgia World Congress Center in Downtown Atlanta and is the culmination of an 8-week training program, Get Active Atlanta.