Water bottle stations at Baptist Jacksonville and Wolfson emphasizes importance of water and staying healthy
March 11, 2015 | Jacksonville, FL
New water bottle filling stations were recently installed at Baptist Medical Center Jacksonville and Wolfson Children’s Hospital.
Five stations are in place at various locations next to some existing water fountains for team members, patients and family members. These new stations offer hands-free water bottle filling and also keeps track of how many disposable water bottles were saved as a result of using the stations.
The new stations are part of Baptist Health’s Healthy for Life employee wellness initiative, which creates a “culture of wellness” within the health system. Instead of going to a vending machine to buy water or a soda, people can use their own water bottles to re-fill while at the hospital. The overall goals of the new stations are to reduce how frequently people use disposable water bottles and to encourage people to drink more water using reusable bottles. Additional stations may be installed at other Baptist hospitals in the future.
The idea was first brought to administration by Tyler Juhan, a part-time employee in the Patient Access Services department, who is also a nursing student at the University of Florida in Gainesville. Similar water bottle stations are located throughout his campus. “I’m in nursing school so I know the benefits of drinking water,” he said. “I carry a water bottle with me everywhere I go and am constantly drinking water. Not only have I increased my water intake, I feel more energized, less tired and more vibrant during the day. I don't get headaches. I snack less and overall feel better when I drink water.”
Beth Mehaffey, Baptist Health senior vice president of Human Resources, agreed whole heartedly with Juhan. She charged her wellness team with the task of bringing Tyler’s idea to life. This idea went hand and hand with many other wellness initiatives already in place, like the “Rethink Your Drink” campaign, which provides information to help team members decrease consumption of sweetened drinks and increase water consumption.
“This is a great opportunity to encourage our team members to drink more water, which has many benefits,” Mehaffey said. “In addition to the health benefits, there is a benefit for the environment as well by reducing the number of plastic water bottles we discard each day. It is estimated that more than 80 percent of plastic bottles end up in landfills.”
Studies have found that Americans consume 200 to 300 more calories each day than 30 years ago. Nearly half of these extra calories come from sugar-sweetened drinks. More calories mean extra weight. One can of soda a day, can add up to 10 pounds or more of weight gain in a year. According to the American Heart Association, a 20 ounce bottle of soda has 65 grams of sugar which equals 13 teaspoons. With such startling statistics, the wellness team knew they had to take action. In late 2012, Baptist Health’s Healthy for Life Employee Wellness program launched the “Rethink Your Drink” education campaign for team members.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
- Sugary beverages are a leading cause of Americans being overweight
- One soda a day can cause a 10 pound weight gain in just one year
- Excess amounts of sugar lead to a decrease in HDL or “good cholesterol”
- Drinking one regular soda every day for six months can cause up to an 11 percent increase in total cholesterol
Benefits of drinking water
- Drinking water helps maintain the balance of body fluids
- Water can help control calories
- Water helps energize muscles
- Water helps keep skin looking good
- Water helps your kidneys
- Water helps maintain normal bowel function
The Baptist Health’s Healthy for Life employee wellness initiative has been in place since 2008. This award winning worksite wellness program serves nearly 10,000 Baptist Health team members system wide. Team members have access to a full-time professional wellness team who offers a host of wellness offerings, including regular health challenges, biometrics screenings, educational workshops, wellness campaigns, wellness coaching and much more. Healthy for Life has been recognized on a platinum level by agencies such as the First Coast Worksite Wellness Council, the American Heart Association and the Jacksonville Business Journal. Healthy for Life recently earned the AHA Fit Friendly Worksites Innovation award for their innovative work toward “Changing Health Care for Good.”