From the Worldwide Faith News archives

ELCA Board of Pensions, Mayo Clinic Offer Health Risk Assessment

Date Wed, 28 Jan 2004 10:19:41 -0600


January 28, 2004

ELCA Board of Pensions, Mayo Clinic Offer Health Risk Assessment

     CHICAGO (ELCA) -- The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
(ELCA) Board of Pensions, Minneapolis, and Division for Ministry
are teaming up with Mayo Clinic Health Management Resources,
Rochester, Minn., to offer ELCA leaders, employees and family
members use of the Mayo Clinic Health Risk Assessment at on the Web through Feb. 25 as
part of their "Healthy Leaders Enhance Lives" wellness campaign.
As of Jan. 27, more than 2,000 assessments were completed.
     The interactive online program allows users to assess their
health risks and develop plans to stay healthy.  Users provide
health-related information, such as blood pressure, weight, and
cholesterol and glucose counts.
     Users receive instant, individualized online reports from
Mayo Clinic outlining health risks and prioritizing actions that
can be taken.  Each user completing the assessment also receives
a free copy of Mayo Clinic's 308-page "Guide to Self-Care."
     Information entered in the assessment is confidential.  The
ELCA Board of Pensions receives summary information about the
ages of the respondents, whether respondents are lay or clergy,
the respondents' stated willingness to implement any
recommendations from the assessment and the top five medical
conditions the respondents report.
     "We're very happy to report that since the assessment began
on Jan. 6, a total of 2,021 people have completed the health risk
assessment," said the Rev. Ronald T. Glusenkamp, vice president
for customer outreach, ELCA Board of Pensions.	"Lay employees
account for 464 of the completed assessments, while pastors have
completed 1,171," he said.  The total includes family members and
seminarians who completed assessments.
     "The total number of registrations to has increased by 93 percent since Jan. 1
and is currently at 4,185," Glusenkamp said.  The Web site is
available to registered users beyond the assessment period.  More
than 48 percent of those registered completed the assessment by
Jan. 27.
     "Now is the time to encourage and support a change in
people's health behaviors, if we are to reverse the trend of
growing health concerns.  We need healthy leaders in this church
who can and do enhance the lives of those around them," said Dr.
Gwen W. Halaas, M.D., project director, Ministerial Health and
Wellness, ELCA Board of Pensions and Division for Ministry.
     In April 2001 the Summex Corporation, Indianapolis,
conducted a representative survey of ELCA leaders.  Halaas used
information from that survey and from the ELCA Board of Pensions
to prepare a 2002 report for the church, comparing the health of
ELCA leaders with the general health of U.S. citizens and
available research on the health of U.S. clergy.
     "Preliminary group results of the online health risk
assessment are similar to our earlier studies on ministerial
health and wellness.  That research shows ELCA pastors and lay
leaders experience high incidents of stress, weight problems,
inactivity and heart disease when compared with those in other
occupations," Halaas said.
     "The online assessment is a simple, fast way for people to
identify health risks and receive online resources to help
support and change their health behaviors.  It is encouraging to
see an increase in the number of pastors and other church workers
who are ready to improve their health," she said.
     "We're pleased to see so many people taking advantage of the
opportunity to participate in the Health Risk Assessment because
they understand the importance of leading a healthier life,"
Glusenkamp said.
     "Healthy leaders really do enhance lives, including their
own," he said, urging the remaining church leaders to complete
the assessment.  "It could just save a life."
-- -- --
     The home page of the ELCA Board of Pensions is at on the Web.  The Division for Ministry's
wellness information is at on the
ELCA Web site.

For information contact:
John Brooks, Director (773) 380-2958 or

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