Thanks to the NJHCN grant, the City of Clifton was also able to target municipal employees with its Steps to a Healthier Clifton campaign by re-establishing a Worksite Wellness Committee.
One of the first initiatives of the Worksite Wellness Committee was to organize an Employee Salad Club, which brings employees together to socialize while they enjoy a delicious and nutritious salad lunch. The Employee Salad Club has been meeting monthly since December 2016 and has 18 enthusiastic members. Each member contributes one ingredient to the selected salad recipe. Ingredients are not mixed so that employees with allergies or dislikes may create their own salad. The Clifton Health Department developed a Salad Club booklet which contains instructions for how to organize the club, and a compilation of the recipes. The Club hosted a Thanksgiving luncheon this past November, featuring a roquefort pear salad, low-fat vegetable soup, and very delicious low-fat pumpkin bread and pumpkin spice cookies! The Salad Club is looking forward to its special healthy holiday luncheon in December.
Clifton’s Worksite Wellness Committee kicked off its Employee Walking Club in April 2016 by celebrating National Walking Day, an annual event held by the American Heart Association to encourage people to start being active and walking regularly. The Walking Club meets every Thursday during lunchtime and walks around the scenic City Hall complex and surrounding streets. As an incentive, all participants were entered into a raffle each week to win Veggie bucks for City Green’s Veggie Mobile, which visits Clifton City Hall every week from June through November.
A Take the Stairs campaign was initiated this fall with the addition of motivational messages displayed strategically throughout one of the most commonly used staircases in City Hall. Messages like “Whatever you are, be a good one” and “The secret to getting ahead is getting started” are simple, but meaningful reminders meant to encourage people to both take the stairs more often and begin and end their days on a positive note.
Feedback from employees showed a strong interest in improving food and beverage vending options in City Hall. After first gaining approval from the City Manager, the NJHCN team met with the City’s Purchasing Agent to determine how to make it happen. She was able to reach out to the vending company on our behalf and obtain a list of all their available products. Our summer intern from Montclair State University then researched online to find the product’s nutritional information and created pictograms for our food and beverage vending machines. After making some changes and finalizing the product mix, the pictograms were submitted to the vending company for review. In early November, the vending changes were made! Improvements to the beverage machine include an increase in the proportion of the machine that is water and seltzer, In the snack machine, many candies were removed and instead the machine was re-stocked with baked items, pretzels, nuts, and granola bars.
Bicycle racks were also installed the Clifton City Hall municipal complex – something to look forward to once the warm weather returns for all the springtime cyclists. The “Steps to a Healthier Clifton” team is excited to focus more on physical activity initiatives in the New Year!
The Clifton Health Department is extremely grateful to the NJHCN for the opportunity to create policy, environmental, and system changes to make Clifton a healthier place to work, live, and play!