Nebraska's workplace wellness program offers awards in two categories. The Sower Award recognizes workplaces that have established quality wellness programs. The Grower Award takes it to the next level, honoring businesses and organizations that demonstrate significant improvement in employee health through their wellness programs.

Nebraska businesses can apply for the Governor's Wellness Award online here. Awards are presented annually and are good for three years.

Grower Award recipients:

All Points Cooperative

Cabela's

Central District Health Department

Chief Industries

Duncan Aviation

Fred A. Lockwood & Co PC

Kawasaki Motors Manufacturing Corp., U.S.A.

Lincoln Airport Authority

Lincoln Electric System

Lincoln Public Schools

Little Blue NRD

Lower Loup Natural Resources District

Lower Platte South NRD

Mary Lanning Healthcare

Nelnet

Nye Senior Services-Nye Square

Panhandle Public Health District

Papio-Missouri River Natural Resources District

Pen-Link

RDG Planning & Lamp Design

Speedway Motors, Inc.

State Farm Insurance

Upper Niobrara White Natural Resources District

Upper Republican National Resources District

Warren Distribution, Inc.

Woodmen of The World

Sower Award recipients:

Arbor Day Foundation

Aurora Public Schools

Broken Bow Public Schools

David City Public Schools

Dial Retirement Communities

Dodge County Head Start

East Butler Public Schools

Educational Service Unit #2

Five Points Bank of Hastings

Harvard Public School

Lexington Public Schools

Marian High School

Nebraska Association of Resources Districts

Nemaha Natural Resources District

Norfolk Public Schools

Norris School District

Orthman Manufacturing

Peru State College

Sandhills Public Schools

South Central Unified at Lawrence/Nelson

Sutherland Public School

Tri Valley Health System

Tri-Basin NRD

Upper Elkhorn Natural Resources District

LINCOLN — Gov. Dave Heineman defended his Big Mac habit on Monday, saying you can eat some fast food and be a successful participant in a wellness program, too.

The 65-year-old governor, a long-time Big Mac fan, said he's been advised that as long as he keeps his exercise level high enough, he can indulge, in moderation, in his favorite fast food.

Heineman said his pedometer showed he walked nearly 21,000 steps on Sunday and nearly 19,000 on Saturday. That was more than enough, he said, to qualify him for a Big Mac break from McDonald's, as advised by former State Chief Medical Officer Dr. Joann Schaefer.

“She always told me, if I got to 7,000 to 8,000 by noon, it was OK to have a Big Mac,” said the governor, who eats an apple a day.

Monday morning, Heineman joined the current state medical director, Dr. Joe Acierno, to announce 50 Nebraska businesses were being honored this year by the governor for successfully promoting wellness programs.

Representatives of the Lincoln Electric System and Hastings-based Five Points Bank said encouraging workers to exercise, eat better and kick bad habits enhances productivity and can decrease health insurance costs.

Acierno, who replaced Schaefer in February, said he agreed that fast food in moderation is OK as long as a person keeps exercising.

“To make (Big Macs) a habit is another thing,” the doctor said.

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paul.hammel@owh.com

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