MARIN, SONOMA COUNTIES -- Kaiser Permanente, the largest private sector employer in Marin and Sonoma counties with over 4,200 employees between the two,  has a simple, straight-forward campaign to its patients: Thrive.

Its wellness effort toward employees is similarly simple -- Live Well Be Well -- and it has a 75 percent participation rate among its vast number of employees and physicians.

"The program leverages Kaiser Permanente's clinical excellence and health promotion expertise to provide on-site and online services, which include everything from cholesterol and blood-pressure screening to cooking, weight-loss, exercise and smoking cessation classes and programs," said Carl Campbell, public affairs director for the Marin-Sonoma region.

[caption id="attachment_44796" align="alignleft" width="350" caption="Exercise can be fun, as these Kaiser Permanente Live Well Be Well participants demonstrate."][/caption]

Kaiser's two main medical campuses in the North Bay -- in San Rafael and Santa Rosa -- both have full-time staff to promote and facilitate the Live Well Be Well program, according to Kaiser, which noted that both facilities were honored by the California Task Force on Youth & Workplace Wellness.

The wellness program encompasses six major categories: healthy eating, physical activity, emotional health, prevention, healthy workplace and healthy community.

And Kaiser is one of only a few companies that actually limits "unhealthy" foods and provides healthier options at company meetings and parties.

Kaiser, one of the largest health care systems in the country with a presence in nine states and Washington, D.C., is able to utilize its sizable resources -- clinical and technological -- in promoting and providing wellness for its employees, Mr. Campbell said.

"Our program design objectives are: use evidenced-based care to improve healthy lifestyles and long-term behavior changes ; support healthy lifestyle choices; maximize our employee's functional status; utilize our advanced information technology systems," Mr. Campbell said.

In the past two years, Kaiser has seen employee participation double in its wellness efforts, as more employees became involved in wellness opportunities and more included their families, according to the company. Numerous programs such as team walking and weight reduction have become increasingly popular, as have the healthy eating options offered in the cafeterias and vending machines, Kaiser said.