We’re pretty proud of our way of life in Louisiana. Improving our wellbeing, though, doesn’t have to mean giving up our favorite things like good food, great music and legendary festivals. Rather, it means making smart choices so we can enjoy our favorite things even longer. Well-Ahead Louisiana, a campaign by the Louisiana Dept. of Health and Hospitals, was created to improve health and wellness in our state so that we can enjoy Louisiana for many, many years to come.
“With the bounty of seafood, protein and produce we have here in our state, we encourage restaurants to take part in the Well-Ahead Louisiana campaign,” said Stan Harris, President and CEO, Louisiana Restaurant Association. “Restaurants can choose to participate in this voluntary program by offering alternative preparation of menu items and providing this information to their service staff to share with their guests.”
Well-Ahead Louisiana promotes and recognizes smart choices in the spaces and places we live and work every day that make it easier for us all to live healthier lives, from going tobacco-free to ensuring healthy lunch options or supporting workplace fitness programs. Once designated, these environments are called Well-Spots. All Well-Spots must be designated tobacco-free locations. In addition to being tobacco-free, restaurants may adopt additional criteria.
DHH staff will work closely with restaurants, schools, worksites, local governments, hospitals, and universities and colleges to help them identify and meet benchmarks for wellness. Once DHH staff verifies an organization has completed enough benchmarks they will be identified as a Level One, Level Two or Level Three Well-Spot. Level One is the highest level of designation. Read the criteria here.
Chronic disease cost Louisiana a total of $4.5 billion in 2003. Additionally, the economic loss caused by sick days and reduced productivity was $17.4 billion alone in Louisiana in the same time period. Adjusted for inflation, the total cost of treatment, and the economic and productivity costs Louisiana drained an estimated $28 billion from the nation's economy in 2013.
If we made smarter choices together to improve our wellbeing, the Milken Institute predicted that we could avoid 612,000 cases of chronic conditions in 10 years. We could also reduce future economic costs by more than $17 billion in 2023 and we could increase Louisiana's economic output by $62 billion by 2050.