The Louisiana Hospital Association has announced a new workplace wellness initiative for hospitals throughout the state that will encourage employees and communities to eat healthily, exercise, lose weight and stop smoking.

More than 100 hospitals formally committed to the Smart Choices, Better Health Hospital Campaign. Each hospital has appointed a representative to head the campaign and form a wellness team. The teams will implement wellness action plans for their employees and communities.

“The LHA created this campaign so that every hospital, regardless of type or size, could participate and have a positive impact on the wellness of their staff and communities,” Milton Bourgeois, LHA board chair and chief executive officer of Ochsner-St. Anne General Hospital, said in a news release. “Healthy choices lead to better health outcomes, and hospitals are committed to leading by example.”

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, more than 66 percent of adults and over 35 percent of children in Louisiana are obese. Also, over 22 percent of adults in Louisiana smoke.

“Smoking and obesity alone are major causes of health issues in Louisiana leading to heart disease, diabetes, stroke, cancer and premature death,” John Matessino, LHA president and CEO, said in a news release. “They also increase health care costs by billions of dollars every year.”