For the second straight year, the Health Science Center has received the American Heart Association’s Gold-level Fit-Friendly Worksites designation.
The Fit-Friendly Worksite certification program recognizes employers who go above and beyond when it comes to their employees’ health. The program is a catalyst for positive change in the American workforce by helping worksites make their employees’ health and wellness a priority. Fit-Friendly Worksites reach gold and platinum level status by implementing a variety of activities and programs to encourage physical activity, nutrition and culture enhancements such as on-site walking routes, healthy food choices in cafeterias and vending machines, annual employee health risk assessments and online tracking tools.
The Heart Association designation was achieved primarily through the efforts of the Campus Health & Wellness Committee, which promotes wellness and healthy living through a variety of initiatives for the mind, body and spirit. Laurie H. Wybenga, D.N.P., RN, FNP, and Lowell Glassburn, M.H.A., are co-chairs of the Campus Health & Wellness Committee.
“Everyone at the Health Science Center works together to provide for a healthier community on and off campus,” said Eileen Breslin, Ph.D, RN, dean of the School of Nursing. “We are pleased to partner with the Campus Health & Wellness Committee that is working hard to provide for a healthier Health Science Center. There are many options available for our employees and students that focus on wellness and healthier living options for the body, mind and spirit.”
Studies released by the American Heart Association report that obesity costs companies $225.8 billion per year in health-related productivity losses. According to a 2004 study released in Critical Pathways in Cardiology, $5.6 billion in heart disease costs could be saved if one-tenth of Americans began a regular walking program.
Recognition is a critical component of the Fit-Friendly Worksite program. Employers that apply for this program qualify for official recognition by the American Heart Association. Recognition includes listing on the program’s national website, as well as at local AHA events, internal award presentations, and through press releases.