CITY EMPLOYEES ARE FAT and out of shape. At least that is the pessimistic view of a new "wellness" initiative brought before council last week by City Commissioner Amanda Fritz. According to a study done by Cathy Bless, the city's benefits and wellness manager, 72 percent of city employees are overweight and 23 percent have high blood pressure.
To start changing things, Fritz has challenged all her colleagues on council to set personal wellness goals and to "choose a community activity with a wellness component," by May 1. Then they can invite their bureau employees to come along. It's all about "modeling good behavior," she says.
Fritz has set her own goals: reminding staff to take breaks, and not eating empty-calorie rice with her bento. She also wants to take a daily break to climb the stairs at a garage on 1st and Jefferson, 135 steps to the ninth floor.
Mayor Sam Adams, whose quadruple lattes can hardly be helping his blood pressure or stress levels, seemed stricken in last week's council session when he was told it's bad practice to schedule meetings over lunch.
"That would not be modeling the right behaviors," said Bless.
Adams often shows up to meetings with a Quiznos sandwich in hand, picked up by his executive assistant, Cevero Gonzalez.
"There's ham, turkey, mayo, honey mustard, and tomato," says Gonzalez, when I ask him what Adams likes in his sandwich. Ditch the mayo, mayor. But it's good to hear you'll be doing the Bridge Pedal, and that your staff is doing the Hood to Coast run this year.
Commissioner Randy Leonard wants to keep his weight and blood pressure down, and continue the running and weight training routine he started last year.
"Getting there is one thing, staying there is quite another," he says—adding that he's yet to decide on a community activity for his employees.
Commish Nick Fish is going to do the Run Like Hell! in October, in aid of homeless nonprofit p:ear, although he has yet to decide between the 5K, 10K, or half marathon.
Commissioner Dan Saltzman is probably going to sit on his ass and do nothing for a change. At least, his staff didn't get back to me about his goals. Then again, he's got quite a lot on his mind these days with the police bureau and council candidate Jesse Cornett breathing down his neck. After all, running a campaign is a lot more stressful than running stairs.