Central Maryland Region
February, 2015

*New This Month*

Healthiest Maryland Businesses welcomes our new members, 
Howard County Public School System,Techiebuddie and Pure Technologies
Are you a member of Healthiest Maryland Businesses? We welcome all businesses sizes! 
All it takes is signing a letter of commitment  and completing a Health ScoreCard 
that catalogs what you offer your employees while giving ideas for future programming. 
For more information on joining, please contact


February is American Heart Month


Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States. Every year, one in four deaths is caused by heart disease. The good news is that heart disease can often be prevented when people make healthy choices and manage their health conditions. Businesses, communities, health professionals and families can work together to create opportunities for people to make healthier choices. Make a difference in your business community! Spread the word about strategies for preventing heart disease and encourage people to live heart healthy lives.


How can you utilize American Heart Month to make a difference?

  • Encourage your employees to make small changes, like using spices to season their food instead of salt
  • Offer a lunch-and-learn or other educational opportunity
  • Motivate your employees to make physical activity a part of the work day
  • Create policies (healthy meetings and vending for example)  to support  healthy behaviors
  • If you don't already have one, create a newsletter that includes health promotion tips
  • Host a community event where families can be active while learning about local health resources

For resources and additional information, please visit

If you would like help with developing a policy, please contact  




The Mission of Bon Secours Health System (BSHSI) is to bring compassion to health care and to be Good Help to Those in Need�, especially those who are poor and dying. The impressive list of BSHSI values includes Innovation. This process of creating or managing new ideas, methods and technologies to vitalize existing services and to develop new ones is stimulated by a strong awareness of the needs of those they serve and thrives in an organization that promotes new approaches to health care delivery. This innovative organization commits resources necessary for research and development and for change and is quite apparent in the way they serve their community, which includes a very large workforce. Here are some of their innovative programs and approaches: 
  • BSHSI has provided a Personal Health Assessment (PHA), consisting of a Health Risk Assessment and onsite biometric screening for all employees since 2011. Seventy-nine percent of employees enrolled in the medical plan completed both parts of the PHA in 2014.
  • BSHSI analyzes data each year and makes changes to their incentive programs accordingly.  The most prevalent controllable risk they have as an organization is overweight (BMI > 27.5) so they specifically added a Healthy Weight component to the incentive program.
  • BSHSI as a hospital system has key partnerships with clinical staff and acute care facilities.  They have partnerships with strength and conditioning coaches and a nutritionist for their Healthy Me Challenge program.  They also are partnered with a local school to build and maintain a community garden.
  • BSHSI recently conducted a three-year cohort analysis (employees that have completed a health risk assessment and biometric screening for each of the last 3 years) and the highlights are listed below:

-        4.54% of participants moved to a lower risk stratification

-        1.13% of high risk medical condition participants have moved to the low risk level

-        1.81% of participants reduced their body weight and/or abdominal circumference


Year over year results (2014 vs. 2013) showed:

-        3% reduction in overweight (BMI >27.5) population

-        3% reduction in sedentary lifestyle

-        4% reduction in the number of hypertensive employees

-        5% reduction in low HDL cholesterol�        


          For employees enrolled in their medical plan, they provide:

-       $300 for completing a health risk assessment and biometric screening

-       $300 for logging 500,000 pedometer steps, completing 75 daily challenges, completing a tobacco cessation program or completing a condition management program

-       $300 for having a BMI of 27.5 or less, losing 10% of body weight, completing a healthy weight coaching    program or logging exercise for a least 10 days a month for 3 months


For more information on BSHSI's wellness program, please contact John Bowe at


Sneaking More Vegetables into Meals


If corn and baby carrots are the only veggies your family eats, you may want to try a more sneaky approach. The American Heart Association recommends filling half your plate with fruits and vegetables. So, to help reach this goal, put on your creative chef's cap and cook up some imaginative ideas for adding veggies here and there. Here are some easy suggestions to get started:

Veggie Shreds

A box grater or the grating attachment on your food processor makes it super easy to shred zucchini, beets, or parsnips to add to all sorts of recipes from muffins to meatloaf. In whole grain muffins and quick breads, replace up to half the soft margarine or oil with shredded veggies; then stir in some frozen no sugar added blueberries or raspberries as a bonus fruit. Shredded carrots, summer squash or butternut squash can be added to pasta sauce and cooked for about 5 minutes to soften - then they will never be noticed!

Blend in Mushrooms

Replace half the ground meat in recipes, like burgers, meatloaf and meatballs, with chopped, cooked mushrooms. Finely chop a package of mushrooms using a knife or food processor, then saut� in a little extra virgin olive oil until soft, for about 3 minutes. Once the mushrooms are nearly cool, gently mix them with raw ground beef, ground chicken or ground turkey (choose extra lean ground meat and poultry). Then follow the rest of the recipe as is. 

Cheesy Orange Veggies

Cooked orange vegetables like butternut squash, sweet potatoes and carrots puree into a color that makes them easy to add to cheesy dishes like macaroni and cheese, lasagna or baked enchiladas so you use less cheese; cheese can be high in saturated fat and sodium. Or, add these sweeter-tasting veggies to a blender with some low-sodium chicken broth and whiz them into a velvety smooth soup that most kids (and adults) will adore when topped with salt-free crackers and low-fat, low sodium cheese.

Beans Count

Yes, beans are a vegetable! Puree garbanzo beans, navy beans or even black beans into a creamy dip; add a little lemon juice and garlic powder for zip. Serve with whole grain crackers (choose crackers with the lowest saturated fat, trans fat and sodium content), homemade baked tortilla crisps or baby carrots.


To your blender, add a frozen banana, fat-free milk or fat-free, no added sugar yogurt, a drizzle (1/2 teaspoon or less) of honey and then whiz in raw spinach, carrots, sweet potatoes (cooked will be easier to blend) or just about any vegetable. The frozen banana makes for a sweet, thick and creamy smoothie and it also adds strong banana flavor to help mask the veggies. For a beautifully colored pink smoothie, pop a cooked beet into the banana-yogurt-honey blend. 


For additional heart healthy recipes and ideas, visit



Become a Bicycle Friendly Business!

The League of American Bicyclists is accepting applications for the Bicycle Friendly Business program which recognizes employers for their innovative bike-friendly efforts and also provides resources for organizations to further enhance the environment for their employees who commute by bike. Complete the short 20-minute application to begin the process by registering your organization.

For more information, please visit


February Health Observances

National Children's Dental Health Month

Age-Related Macular Degeneration/Low Vision Awareness Month

Heart Month 

Recreational Therapy/Therapeutic Recreation Month

 Wise Health Care Consumer Month

Million Hearts Symposium

Million Hearts is a national initiative to prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes by 2017. 

To learn more and to register for the February 10 Symposium, visit 


 Mountain Club of Maryland
 The oldest hiking club in Maryland (since 1934)  offers regular, and often multiple hikes 

on Wednesdays and weekends that are led by experienced leaders.  

The hikes are rated both by length and challenges, so you are sure to find one that suits you! 

For information and a schedule, please visit

Nursing Mothers

 Women with children are the fastest-growing segment of the work force.  

Learn how to support nursing mothers at work through an online resource that 

provides businesses with cost-effective tips and solutions for any industry setting. 

Visit for more information.

This newsletter is provided for informational purposes only.
Inclusion in this newsletter does not imply endorsement by 
Healthy Howard, Inc. or the Howard County Health Department.
For information on this newsletter and Healthiest Maryland Businesses, email or call 410-313-6268.