Maybe the way to improve the life styles and health of Americans is to make Jeff Bingaman head gym teacher.
Senate employes now have a Senate Health Promotion program, set up since last year, which offers a noon walking club, lunchtime seminars on health issues, a newsletter, fitness evaluations and health assessments. Currently, 200 Senate staffers pay $50 a year, and even those who don't join are invited to Friday seminars on health issues.
This summer, the Sergeant at Arms Office, the Senate support staff, began its "Working Well" program for the office's 1,600 staffers, almost all of whom hold blue-collar or clerical positions.
Dan Yarano, employe services coordinator for the program, says there has been a tremendous response and that he expects 90 percent participation eventually.
"It's basically a campaign in which we promote healthy behavior," Yarano explains, "and then support that with seminars and programs."
One of the most popular new programs is a regular early-morning workout, similar to those used in Japanese industry, where participants do exercises at their desks before work starts each morning, led by a trained volunteer from the group.
"We want to increase strength and morale and decrease low back pain, often a hazard of office work," says Yarano.