Students are not the only ones who need good health. An employee’s mental health and physical health are essential to the success of a school system. School personnel who want to encourage children and teens to live a healthy lifestyle will be more successful if they model healthy behaviors. Employee Wellness Programs should provide staff with information and experiences that increase their understanding of wellness and their commitment to its benefits. School districts should establish their wellness programs based on the needs of their particular communities. A number of activities can be considered to make sure that teachers and school staff feel their best, perform at peak levels, and reduce their risk of disease. Such efforts can include:
- Promoting health and reducing risk factors through professional and staff development programs, providing information flyers and newsletters, introducing incentives for participating in healthy practices and activities, and offering an employee assistance program.
- Providing health promotion programs for school staff to include opportunities for physical activity, health screenings, nutrition education, weight management, smoking cessation, and stress reduction and management.
Health promotion activities lead to improved productivity, decreased absenteeism, and reduced health insurance costs. They also encourage school staff to pursue a healthy lifestyle that results in their improved health status, improved morale, and a greater personal commitment to the school’s overall coordinated health program. This commitment often transfers into a greater commitment to the health of students as well as creating positive role modeling. School staff not only model attitudes and behaviors, but staff can take a lead in promoting safe and healthy school environments by taking steps to prevent or control unhealthy conditions or hazards and by demonstrating to students the importance of these initiatives.