Abbeville General Designated a WellSpot by Louisiana Health Department

Louisiana is internationally renowned for its music, culture, cuisine and celebrations held throughout the state each year. Louisiana is also well known for its unhealthy lifestyle choices that cause our residents to lead the nation in statistics for obesity, diabetes, heart disease, stroke and other potentially preventable chronic diseases. Improving our wellbeing, though, doesn’t have to mean giving up our favorite things like good food, great music and legendary festivals. Rather, it means making smart choices so we can enjoy our favorite things even longer.

Chronic disease cost Louisiana a total of $4.5 billion in 2003. Additionally, the economic loss caused by sick days and reduced productivity was $17.4 billion alone in Louisiana in the same time period. If we made smarter choices together to improve our wellbeing, we could increase Louisiana’s economic output by $62 billion by 2050. Each of us can make small choices every day such as eating healthy, increasing physical activity, or living a tobacco-free lifestyle that will allow us the opportunity for balance. This balance will afford us the chance to feel a little better and the chance to enjoy life a little longer.

Well-Ahead Louisiana is an initiative started by the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals aimed at improving the health and wellness of Louisiana citizens. Well-Ahead Louisiana promotes and recognizes smart choices in the spaces and places we live and work every day that make it easier for us all to live healthier lives, from going tobacco-free to ensuring healthy lunch options or supporting workplace fitness programs.

Well-Ahead promotes voluntary changes that places in Louisiana can adopt in order to help Louisiana citizens make choices that contribute to a healthier lifestyle. This is about Louisiana’s people, leaders, businesses and organizations taking action because it is the right – and healthy – thing to do.

Part of the Well-Ahead Louisiana campaign is the designation of places and spaces that have decided to encourage our citizens to make choices and changes to our lifestyle so it will be easier for Louisiana citizens to live well. Once designated, these environments are called WellSpots.

A WellSpot is a place, space or organization in Louisiana that has implemented voluntary, smart changes to make healthier living easier for Louisiana citizens. An organization becomes a WellSpot by meeting wellness benchmarks that correspond to its organization type.

Once a certain number of benchmarks has been met, the Department of Health and Hospitals will recognize the organization as an official WellSpot. There are three levels of WellSpots, with Level One being the highest level of achievement.

Abbeville General was recently designated a Level Two WellSpot by Louisiana’s Department of Health and Hospitals for its commitment to making healthy choices easier. WellSpots are organizations or companies that have made small, sustainable changes toward improving health and wellness.

Well-Ahead Louisiana, the first voluntary designation program of its kind in the state, encourages organizations and individuals to make small healthy lifestyle changes to spaces where Louisiana residents spend most of their time. Well-Ahead was launched in early 2014 and has designated WellSpots in every parish throughout the state.

According to Ray Landry, FACHE, Abbeville General CEO, “The healthy practices our organization has implemented through our WellSpot designation help our team make smart choices an easier part of living, working and playing in Louisiana.”

The representative from DHH adds, “The Louisiana Department of Health commends Abbeville General Hospitalfor implementing changes to become a Level 2 WellSpot. Hospitals have a unique opportunity to impact the health of both their employees and patients.Tobacco-free policies and worksite wellness programs are great practices that help move Louisiana’s health forward. LDH is proud to recognize Abbeville General Hospital as a leader in Louisiana’s health initiatives.” – Melissa Martin, Director of the Bureau of Chronic Disease Prevention & Health Promotion

Abbeville General completed several benchmarks to earn its designation, including:

· Tobacco-free policy on each of its campuses,

· Breastfeeding friendly policies,

· Worksite wellness programs, and

· Consistent health messaging.

For more information on the Well Ahead Louisiana initiative and resources available, please visit