Carman stopped exercising after leaving the military in 1991, and the pounds began piling on. But after his father died at age 54, and at the urging of his daughter, a nursing student, Carman decided in 2012 to start making a change. The constant encouragement Carman receives through Kaiser has helped him overcome his biggest obstacle: sticking with his exercise program consistently. “I’m just very grateful for everything my employer does,” Carman said.
While many employers encourage a healthy workforce, Kaiser, which employs 66,000 in its Northern California region, including 12,000 in the Sacramento area, has an additional motivation as a health-care provider. “We want all of our staff and physicians to be role models for our community,” said Dr. Richard Isaacs, physician-in-chief of Kaiser Permanente South Sacramento Medical Center.
Kaiser’s program offers more than 250 wellness options that focus on six categories: physical activity, healthy eating, emotional health, prevention, healthy workplace and healthy community. Issacs, a head and neck surgeon, said the program has caused a cultural transformation at the company, reducing absenteeism and making employees happier and more engaged. Employees encourage colleagues to get involved, take lunch-time walks or train for competitions. There are free exercise classes, with yoga, Zumba and boot camp among the popular options.