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Santa Clara County’s New Health and Wellness Policy

Photo: Georgia State University

A new comprehensive Health and Wellness Policy for Santa Clara County received unanimous approval from the Board of Supervisors at its Tuesday November 14 meeting. The item enjoyed a two-minute summary by Supervisor Ken Yeager but attracted no public comment nor discussion by the other Board members.

“In their December 2016 report, the Employee Wellness Department identified a need for new countywide policies to support a culture of wellness and employee participation in work-based wellness activities,” reported Yeager. “We now have an opportunity to achieve greater health impact and help employees address preventable health risk factors by ensuring that business policies, practices, and cultures are adequately transformed to support employee health.”

“[Santa Clara] County continues to be a leader in employee health and well-being, and comprehensive policies would further support healthy behaviors and reinforce the County’s commitment to health and wellness for employees and community partners. Both San Mateo County and Alameda County have implemented a comprehensive wellness policy.” – Ken Yeager memo, November 14, 2017

According to the meeting’s staff report, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that eliminating three lifestyle risk factors – poor diet, inactivity, and smoking – would prevent:

·        80% of heart disease and stroke;
·        80% of type 2 diabetes; and,
·        40% of cancer.

Many chronic diseases could be prevented, delayed, or alleviated, through these simple lifestyle changes, according to the report.

County staff were directed to report back to the Board on “a comprehensive Health and Wellness Policy with policy recommendations designed to support the County’s ability to support health and wellness.” No schedule was provided.