Public Health Promotion

By promoting healthy behaviors and environments for all Hennepin County residents, Public Health Promotion works to reduce chronic diseases and associated health-care costs.

Active living, healthy eating and a tobacco-free lifestyle are the cornerstones of healthy living. Lack of physical activity, a poor diet, and tobacco use or exposure are the leading causes of preventable death and disease in the United States. By focusing on places where people live, learn, work, and play, Public Health Promotion works to make it easier for residents to choose and maintain healthy lifestyles.

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Community initiatives

We work on several fronts to improve the health of Hennepin County.

Active living

Healthy community planning and design

Cities, businesses and nonprofits partner with Hennepin County to consider policies and practices that integrate physical activity into daily routines and destinations through activities such as biking, walking and or taking transit.

Email Karen Nikolai at for more information.

Step To It Challenge

This is a four-week springtime physical activity campaign that motivates people of all ages and abilities to become more physically active. Family members, coworkers, schoolmates, neighbors, and friends come together to participate in this friendly competition among communities.

Email Dianne Blaydes at for more information.

Step To It Challenge website

Tobacco-free living

Smoke-free rental housing project: Hennepin County and its partner, Live Smoke Free, are helping create healthier multifamily rental housing environments by eliminating toxic secondhand smoke.

Email Catherine Stahl at for more information.

More information:

Tobacco point of sale project

Hennepin County and its community partners offer technical assistance to policy makers who invite us to work with them on improving their efforts to protect youth from exposure to tobacco products.

Email Ruth Tripp at for more information.

Physical activity and nutrition

Healthy eating Minnesota initiative

Hennepin County is one of eight organizations in the state that is working on the Healthy Eating Minnesota initiative to make it easier for Minnesotans to eat healthy foods, especially fruits and vegetables. Healthy Eating Minnesota is supported by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota as part of Prevention Minnesota.

Email Catherine Stahl at for more information.

Healthy Eating Minnesota website

Find fresh food at farmers’ markets near you with the new 2016 Farmer’s Markets web mapping application. Access from a web browser, smart phone, or tablet. See the help page for more information on how to use the application.

Physical activity and nutrition child care project

Hennepin County is partnering with child care providers on a project to improve nutrition and physical activity policies and practices.

Email Catherine Stahl at for more information.

Nutrition and physical activity self-assessment for child care website

Employee e-tips

Worksite wellness coordinators are encouraged to email these tips to their employees. Coordinators can also cut and paste the contents of each tip into a separate document to send to employees.

April 2017

Employee e-tip: ready, set, grow! (DOC)

March 2017

Employee e-tip: 7 strategies to make cooking easy and fun (DOC)

February 2017

Employee e-tip: people who need people (DOC)

January 2017

Employee e-tip: 6 tips to successfully form a new habit (DOC)

December 2016

Employee e-tip: pick six for health (DOC)

November 2016

Employee e-tip: 10 tips for better sleep (DOC)

Wellness by Design award

About the Wellness by Design award

The county recognizes and shares your successful employee health promotion efforts with the Wellness by Design award which now occurs every other year.

For 2015, the county added a +Green designation to recognize worksites who do their part to minimize their impact on the environment.

The 2017 Wellness by Design award will be presented to worksites for health promotion efforts occurring in 2015-2016.

The award application is now open and applications are due by Friday, March 24, 2017.

Fill out the 2017 Wellness by Design award application online.

Any worksite in Hennepin County can apply.

If you require a word document application or have application questions, contact Linda Brandt at or 612-596-1511.

2014-2015 Wellness by Design winners

More than 80 organizations and businesses received the Wellness by Design award. Read summaries about the winners (DOC).

Watch award winners' videos

Reasons to apply for the award

Past winners cite three top reasons to apply for Wellness by Design recognition:

1. Increase your program's visibility and buy-in from employees.
"We really appreciated the award, which is displayed at our front desk. The more attention to this topic the better!"

2. Increase management support for wellness.
"Wellness by Design has been a great way to get my company leaders excited about wellness."

3. Benchmark your efforts with other top worksite programs.
"We have used this award to educate our management and employees about how we met the criteria of the gold award. It has helped the "legitimacy" of our wellness program and recognizes what we need to in the future..."

See all past winners 2006 - 2015 (PDF)


News and events

Check back for more information.

Advancing worksite wellness in Hennepin County

Health@Work offers a wide array of low- and no-cost services and resources to help employers in Hennepin County promote healthy worksites and employees.

Networking and consultations

Active@Work Consultations

Active@Work staff will come to your worksite and conduct a worksite physical activity support assessment, create an action plan to increase employee physical activity, map a walking route for employees and provide additional technical assistance. The service is free. Email Anne Nelson at

Food@Work Consultations

Our staff will assess the nutrition environment at your organization, provide recommendations to support healthy eating among employees and offer healthy nutrition resources and technical assistance. The service is free. Email Maia Seitz at

Networking breakfasts

Attend these events to hear from worksites that have made healthy changes, including health topics such as tobacco, nutrition, physical activity, employee benefits and work-life balance. There is also time for networking, asking questions and sharing ideas. A light breakfast is served. Email Linda Brandt at

Hennepin County Worksite Advisory Council

The council was established to provide input and direction in making Health@Work health promotion activities relevant and helpful to worksite health promotion coordinators. Health@Work provides resources that promote healthier lifestyles for employees in organizations located in Hennepin County. Email Kelly Harjes at

Improving vending machine choices

Food choices, environment and lifestyle all impact our health. Our environment strongly influences what we eat by determining what is available and affordable. Vending machines may be the only source of food or snacks in some situations. Increasing healthy options in vending machines can make a big difference in health. The following resources can help you get healthier choices in your vending machines.

Available resources

Ask us about these challenges and resources for your worksite.

To learn more about upcoming Health@Work events, join the Health@Work's LinkedIn group and "like" Hennepin County Public Health's Facebook page

For general information, email Linda Brandt at or call 612-348-6728.


Creating safe, positive environments for learning

Hennepin County's partnerships within the schools and the community are helping create healthy school environments that reduce chronic disease, increase student attendance and achievement, and increase student and staff wellness.

Read more

The importance of public health initiatives in schools (PDF)


Health@School staff are available to provide no-cost consultations on the following topics:

  • Active recess and other physical activity initiatives
  • Healthy cafeteria assessments and other healthy eating initiatives
  • Safe Routes to School
  • School climate initiatives
  • Tobacco-free K-12 schools
  • Tobacco-free post-secondary schools

Available resources

  • Coaches kit
  • Eat to Compete: A Coach's Playbook for a Winning Team
  • Health@School Online Health Resource Links
  • School climate toolkit

For information, email Catherine Stahl at or call 612-596-7467.

    Wellness For Every Body- SPMI

    Wellness for Every Body assists organizations serving those with serious and persistent mental illness to create environments that support healthy eating, being physically active and tobacco-free.

    Adults with serious and persistent mental illness die well before the general public, but they die from the same causes as the general population - heart disease, diabetes, cancer, stroke, and lung disease. The increased death rates in this population are thought to be associated with modifiable risk factors – smoking, obesity, poor nutrition and lack of physical activity.

    2016 presentation slides and project tools

    Those serving people with serious and persistent mental illness can use these materials to create and promote healthy environments. Feel free to adapt them to your needs.


    Assessment and Evaluation Tools

    Action Plan


    Individual assessment, goal setting and handouts

    Wellness For Every Body- IDD

    Wellness for Every Body is a physical activity and nutrition initiative to help adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities to lead healthier lives. Poor diets and inactivity are related to obesity, heart disease, some cancers, diabetes, and high blood pressure, and people with disabilities have a higher rate of these chronic health conditions. Improved nutrition and increased physical activity can help control or prevent these conditions, resulting in an improved quality of life. This approach shifts the whole system in a healthier direction. By offering instruction to the people who work most closely with adults who have disabilities, this program aims to ensure that home and work environments provide opportunities for people to make healthier choices.

    Take the first step

    Complete a needs assessment


    Nutrition videos - new in 2016

    Fruits and vegetables

    Special diets 

    Cardiovascular disease grocery shopping (heart healthy diet) (YouTube)

    Managing and preparing a diabetes diet (YouTube)

    How to prepare a dysphagia diet (YouTube)

    How to prepare thickened liquids (YouTube)

    Nutrition training

    As any staff member providing support to adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities knows, meal and snack times can be challenging. People’s food preferences, special diets, food budgets, staff time and staff knowledge all influence what is put on the table. This educational series developed by Hennepin County will help you better understand healthy eating and how it relates to the health of the people you support.

    The series consists of an introduction to the series and five nutrition video sessions and four cooking demonstrations. Each video is designed to build on the information from the one before it. Start with Nutrition 1 and work your way through the series, ending with the cooking demonstrations. After viewing each video, download and complete each quiz. Give all completed quizzes to your manager. After viewing all of the videos, practice what you’ve learned with the e-learning activity provided.

    Ready? Get started by viewing Introduction to the Nutrition Video Series.

    Nutrition 1

    Session video

    Plan a healthy diet using different food groups


    Nutrition 2

    Session video

    Explore the difference between nutrient-rich and nutrient poor foods


    Nutrition 3

    Session video

    Use the nutrition label to make better food choices


    Nutrition 4

    Session video

    Recognize food sources of fats, sugar and sodium


    Nutrition 5

    Session video

    Get more nutrient-rich foods for less


    Healthy cooking demonstration videos

    Learn healthy cooking techniques and methods to prepare quick, tasty recipes demonstrated by Chef Ross with the University of Minnesota Extension Service Simply Good Eating Program.

    Healthy cooking demonstrations

    Healthy skillet lasagna

    Corn and bean salad

    Stir fry

    Garden salad

    More recipes


    Practice what you’ve learned.

    Wellness for Every Body nutrition e-Learning module

    Physical activity training

    This training was developed in partnership with the Courage Center to help staff improve the physical activity environment for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. For best results, watch each of the three videos in order. Watch each video, then print and take the corresponding quiz. Give all completed quizzes to your manager. After viewing all of the videos, practice what you’ve learned with the e-learning activity provided.

    Physical activity 1

    Session video

    Build fitness routines for all ability levels


    Physical activity 2

    Session video

    Add physical activity into everyday life


    Physical activity 3

    Session video

    Find low-cost/free physical activity options every day


    Action plan sample


    Practice what you’ve learned in Wellness for Every Body physical activity e-Learning module.

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