Fit-Friendly Worksites take steps to improve health and productivity while reducing expense
Beaumont Health System has been recognized as a Platinum-Level Fit-Friendly Worksite by the American Heart Association for helping employees eat better and move more.
"Employee wellness and building a healthy workplace culture are important priorities at Beaumont," says Gene Michalski, Beaumont Health System president and CEO. "As a health care provider, we believe we have a responsibility to help our employees remain healthy and fit and to serve as role models for the community. We are honored to be recognized by the American Heart Association as a Platinum-Level Fit-Friendly Worksite."
Employers with the platinum-level designation:
- Offer employees physical activity options in the workplace
- Increase healthy eating options at the worksite
- Promote a wellness culture in the workplace
- Implement at least nine criteria outlined by the American Heart Association in the areas of physical activity, nutrition and culture
- Demonstrate measurable outcomes related to workplace wellness
Through its Beaumont Wellness program, Beaumont Health System offers onsite or nearby employee fitness centers with discounted rates; stocks its vending machines with low salt, low fat, low calorie snack items; is expanding fish and vegetarian food items in dining rooms while reducing beef, pork and poultry items; has a smoke-free environment with nicotine-free hiring; offers on-site wellness events and activities, such as health fairs, yoga, meditation and walking routes.
The Fit-Friendly Worksites program is a catalyst for positive change in the American workforce by helping worksites make employees' health and wellness a priority.
American employers are losing an estimated $225.8 billion a year because of health care expenses and health-related losses in productivity, and those numbers are rising. Many American adults spend most of their waking hours at sedentary jobs. Their lack of regular physical activity raises their risk for a host of medical problems, such as obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes. Employers face $12.7 billion in annual medical expenses due to obesity alone. The American Heart Association is working to change corporate cultures by motivating employees to start walking, which has the lowest dropout rate of any physical activity.
Recognition is a critical component of the Fit-Friendly Worksites program. Employers that join this program qualify for official recognition by the American Heart Association on the program's national website. Qualifying worksites also have the right to use the program's annual recognition seal for internal communications and with external, recruitment-related communications.
"The Fit-Friendly Worksites Program offers a unique, easy-to-implement opportunity for corporations to increase employees' physical activity, which will help improve their health - and their bottom line," says Barry Franklin, PhD, Beaumont's director of preventive cardiology and cardiac rehabilitation and a nationally renowned expert on lifestyle medicine. "Even people who haven't exercised regularly until middle age can reap significant benefits by starting a walking program. A study published in 1986 in the New England Journal of Medicine found that some adults may gain two hours of life expectancy for every hour of regular, vigorous exercise they performed."
For more information about the Fit-Friendly Worksites program and how it is helping to improve the health of Americans by focusing on an activity that is convenient, free and easy, call 248-827-4214 or visit startwalkingnow.org. www.heart.org/SEMI
About the American Heart Association
The American Heart Association is devoted to saving people from heart disease and stroke - America's No. 1 and No. 4 killers. We team with millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, fight for stronger public health policies, and provide lifesaving tools and information to prevent and treat these diseases. The Dallas-based association is the nation's oldest and largest voluntary organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke. To learn more or join us, call 1-800-AHA-USA1 or any of our offices around the country, or visit heart.org.
About Beaumont Health System
Beaumont Health System is a three-hospital regional health system with 1,726 licensed beds, more than 14,000 full-time equivalent employees and nearly 3,100 physicians, including 500 employed physicians in the Beaumont Medical Group and more than 2,600 private-practice physicians. It is Oakland County's largest employer. In addition to its hospitals in Royal Oak, Troy and Grosse Pointe, Beaumont has 54 community-based sites of care including medical centers in Oakland, Macomb and Wayne counties, family practice and internal medicine practices, five nursing centers, home care services and hospice.. Visit Beaumont on the web at www.beaumont.edu.