CLARKSBURG, W.Va. — Employees of the city of Clarksburg helped to kick off the pilot program of Healthy Harrison this week, with 50 employees signed up for the program.

John Paul Nardelli, executive director of Healthy Harrison, said the program is part of an initative to engage employees in healthier lifestyles.

“We want people to be healthy; that’s what this is all about,” he said. “We want to offer this program not only to the city employees, but eventually to county wide and statewide employees. This is a beta test, and we’ll learn a lot from this project.”

Sign ups were held last Friday, with preliminary information being gathered this week.

“We’re drawing people’s blood, and we’re also having them do a couple laps around city hall to get their VO2 test,” Nardelli said. “We really want to know where people are starting so at the end of the three-month beta test we can see how far they’ve come.”

Next week, the employees will work to set individual “bite-sized goals” to reach by the end of the three-month program.

Nardelli said that setting small, sustainable goals is the key to making a lifestyle change.

“We’ve done signficant research to find that over 50 percent of Americans make a New Year’s Resolution, and the number one resolution is, of course, to lose weight and eat healthier,” he said. “Out of that 50 percent though, 90 percent fail within the first three months, and it’s because the goal is just too big.”

Healthy Harrison isn’t just about losing weight or eating healthier. With the help of medical professionals, exercise physiologists and registered dieticians, participants will learn how to live overall healthier lives.

“Maybe you are healthy and eating healthy and exercising, but maybe you go to bed too late and your sleep is really not allowing you to maximize your potential,” Nardelli said. “In a similar way, of course, if smoking is something that you want to cut back on, that could be an individiual bite-sized goal.”

As the program’s kickoff progresses the 50 employees registered as part of Healthy Harrison will be split into teams and encouraged to partner up — two methods Nardelli said further helps to reach those bite-sized goals.

“It provides a competitive component, but it also prvoides a social and connection component within your team, so you can get the support you need from other individuals,” he said.

For more information on Healthy Harrison, contact Nardelli at (681) 342-3645.

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