December 21, 2005 | By: Aimee Nielson
WILLIAMSTOWN, Ky.

Several Grant County businesses and schools are making strides toward healthier lifestyles at work and at home. Those efforts recently earned one business and two schools gold and silver status respectively from Fitness for Life around Grant County. 

FFLAG initiatives target obesity, depression and tobacco use. If a school or business meets criteria in those areas, FFLAG presents them with a flag to fly on their property that shows the community that place supports a healthy lifestyle. 

Performance Pipe, a division of Chevron Phillips Chemical Company LP, reached gold flag status for meeting FFLAG criteria. The plant manufactures pipes used in underground gas distribution and has nearly 80 employees at its Williamstown location.

“We are very safety oriented here,” said Jeff Walters, Performance Pipe management team. “We are very focused on what we are trying to do for our people. We not only want to keep them safe, we want to keep them healthy. If you’ve got a safe and healthy employee, then you’ve got a productive employee. In this thought process, you help your employees and do what you can to keep them safe. We’re giving them healthy choices and hope they take that home to their family.”

Performance Pipe initially formed a work site wellness committee to implement ideas from the Grant County Cooperative Extension Service’s “Get Up, Get Out, Get Fit” program. They wanted to raise awareness about physical activity and nutrition for their coworkers.

As part of the plan, food options at all company meetings must now include healthier food choices. In the company vending machines, 25 percent of the food options are healthier, lower-calorie products. They have installed showers in men’s and women’s restrooms so employees who exercise during breaks can shower afterwards. Performance Pipe is not only implementing this program in its Williamstown location, but also in 10 other factories throughout the U.S. Performance Pipe employees also participate in community events such as Relay for Life, boasting the largest corporate team in 2005 for its area.

“It sets a great role model for other companies,” said Patty Poor, Extension agent for family and consumer sciences in Grant County. “We had about 23 people come to the initial work site wellness training and as of today, we have three that have achieved some kind of goal. We hope that the other people will see this and also other members of the chamber of commerce and will make that their goal next year.”

Poor said she and her Extension colleagues will be able to enhance FFLAG participation by offering newsletters from the University of Kentucky’s Health Education through Extension Leadership initiative as well as specific programs about nutrition and wellness that could be conducted on site for employees and students.

The FFLAG committee presented a gold flag to Performance Pipe in a flag-raising ceremony. At the same ceremony, Mason Corinth Elementary and Crittenden-Mt. Zion Elementary in Grant County achieved silver status for their efforts to meet FFLAG criteria.

 

Contact: 

Writer: Aimee Nielson 859-257-4736, ext. 267

Contact: Patty Poor 859-824-3355