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Coaches on call with playbook on building a healthy lifestyle

Coaches on call with playbook on building a healthy lifestyle

What if an employee wants to lose weight, stop smoking or eat healthier?

At LafargeHolcim U.S., U.S. employees have access to a program to help them achieve those and other health improvement objectives that is free.

Under the program offered through the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute, employees can select the coaching program in which they want to enroll and a coach. The experts include registered dieticians and certified health coaches with master's degrees in fields such as exercise science, psychology and health and nutrition.

The coaches use employee health statistics to develop programs to help workers meet goals such as losing weight, reducing glucose levels or stopping smoking, said Philia Swam, the company's Chicago-based U.S. manager of health, wellness and group benefits.

The coaches and participants interact via email as often as the employee wants.

That interaction, program participants have told Ms. Swam, has been invaluable.

“On several occasions, I have been told by employees that their health coach has become part of their family, that the coach provided such wonderful support and helped change not only the employee's health, but impacted the entire family unit,” Ms. Swam said.

In addition, participants receive at no cost a Garmin activity tracker that, for example, sends out an alert after a prolonged period of physical inactivity.

The program, launched in 2011, currently has about 850 participants.

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    Giving employees powerful financial incentives — substantial employer contributions to employees' health savings accounts — to take better care of themselves is just one way LafargeHolcim U.S. is trying to control health costs.