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Health--it's what we all have in common: whether we're trying to maintain our health through good habits or improve our failing health. "Bridges to Health" is 90.5 WESA's health care reporting initiative examining everything from unintended consequences of the Affordable Care Act to transparency in health care costs; from a lack of access to quality care for minority members of our society to confronting the opioid crisis in our region. It's about our individual health and the well-being of our community.Health care coverage on 90.5 WESA is made possible in part by a grant from the Jewish Healthcare Foundation.

Downtown Salon Joins County’s Healthy Workplace Initiative

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Sarah Schneider
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90.5 WESA

Peggy Glatch spends all day on her feet. She’s constantly moving while cutting her customers' hair.

She’s worked as a hair stylist for more than 40 years, the last 15 at Izzazu Salon downtown.

The salon was recognized as the first Live Well Workplace by the Allegheny County Health Department. Workplace is the fourth installment in the county’s push for healthier lifestyles, Live Well Allegheny.

The salon nabbed the distinction by committing to practices such as providing healthy food options at meetings and events, supporting breastfeeding employees, offering flex hours for employees to exercise and providing bike storage areas.

Karen Hacker, director of the Allegheny County Health Department, said sedentary workplaces can do more to encourage movement, from standing desks, to walking meetings. Hacker said focusing on health is good for a company’s employees, but also saves the employer money in health care costs. She said it’s also tied to a reduction in absenteeism and increase in productivity.

“So you have, essentially, a defined population that you are responsible for and really thinking about how that population can be healthier, can have not only wonderful implications for the workday and what happens in the workday, but also hopefully has some implications for the cost to that business,” she said.

The County Health Rankings and Roadmaps report released Wednesday shows Allegheny County is ranked 26th out of the state’s 67 counties when it comes to health outcomes. Allegheny County has moved up the list by 23 spots since 2010. According to the report, factors such as high school graduation, decreased adult smoking and premature death have contributed to the improved ranking.

Hacker said she is working to continue those improvements through the Live Well program.

“What we’re hoping, of course, is that we will see decreases in obesity, we’ll see decreases in smoking, we will see increases in physical activity,” she said. “All of which we know contribute to the four leading preventable chronic diseases.”

Healthcare coverage on 90.5 WESA is made possible in part by a grant from the Jewish Healthcare Foundation.