A sea of scrubs packs into a conference room in Kaiser Permanente’s Clovis medical office.
It might seem like the employees are there for a meeting, except that all of the tables and chairs are pushed against the walls and staffers wearing office attire have slipped into their sneakers.
Kaiser’s senior health educator Candice McAleavey, who has also been a Zumba instructor for four years, presses a button and salsa music begins to blare through the speaker. Then the women start movin’ and shakin.’
This is a lunch break Zumba dance class and Kaiser Permanente employees are working to shed pounds — not just for personal reasons, but to feed the needy.
Employees in the Northern California region are tracking their weight through March 14 for a new program called Go KP Pound For Pound Challenge. For every pound that employees lose, Healthy Workforce will donate one pound of produce to Feeding America, the national food bank network.
Some of that produce will be given to those in need locally, as Community Food Bank in Fresno is a Feeding America member.
“The hope is that locally we’ll see some of the donated produce,” said Kaiser Permanente Fresno spokeswoman Kerri Leedy. “We have no way to track that, but we’ve heard from the Community Food Bank that Feeding America does try to give back to where the donations have come from.”
The company has also provided its employees with health tools like exercise tracking, healthy recipes and tips for mental wellness through its Live Well Be Well website.
“If you’re having health issues, most likely that’s going to spill over into your work,” McAleavey said.
A variety of free classes are also offered during lunch and after business hours at Kaiser’s Fresno and Clovis locations.
“We’re joining forces with the common New Year’s resolution of losing weight and getting healthy, McAleavey said. “For some, the goal isn’t even to lose weight, but just to get fit. Even though folks might be slender, it doesn’t mean that they’re healthy. They may have high cholesterol or diabetes even. So this is a time to check in and evaluate your health.”
Employees can enjoy yoga, tai chi, pilates, Zumba and more to help them get fit and lose weight for the Pound For Pound Challenge.
“The goal is to lose one to two pounds per week per person, because the likelihood of keeping the weight off is greater if the weight is lost little by little instead of a whole bunch all at once,” McAleavey said.