MANATEE -- The Tampa Bay Business Journal named Manatee County government the healthiest employer in the region in 2014, county officials announced Tuesday.
It's the second time Manatee has received the award in four years, according to a county release. It received the same award in 2011.
The county credits its success to the Manatee YourChoice health plan and the exercise program YWeight. The health plan was named top in the region among 200 employers in seven counties by the Journal's Healthiest Employer Awards in the Spring.
YWeight is a program that encourages exercise and long-term weight loss, and the county said about 2,000 participants have lost nearly 17,000 pounds since the start of the program two years ago.
“We’re capitalizing on the success we’ve seen. The program dangles ‘carrots’ to entice people participate, and now we’re moving toward more toward outcome-based incentives,” Employee Health Benefits Manager Kim Stroud said. “Also, we’re attending more to the data we get particularly in terms of absenteeism, so that we can focus more on our unhealthier population trends and reduce sick time.”
The Journal works with HealthiestEmployers.com, an Indianapolis-based research firm focused on corporate wellness. According to HealthiestEmployers.com, Manatee County received a score of 93.8.