Great River Health Systems named Fit-Friendly Worksite

Great River Health has been recognized as a gold-level Fit-Friendly Worksite by the American Heart Association for helping employees eat better and move more.

More than two-thirds of American adults are overweight or obese, putting them at risk for heart disease and stroke, and many other chronic illnesses. Making healthy changes in the workplace, where many adults spend much of their day, is an important way to help people be healthier.

A detailed list of activities and programs focusing on physical activity, good nutrition and culture enhancements are the criteria for Fit-Friendly Worksite recognition. A few of the ways Great River Health meets the standard are:

  • Having a staff member who promotes wellness and consults with employees
  • Having an outdoor walking path around the lake and an indoor walking route
  • Having on onsite fitness facility that is free for employees
  • Offering free annual health-risk assessments
  • Offering healthy food and beverage options in the Cafeteria
  • Offering weight-loss programs
  • Providing access to smoking-cessation materials

Studies suggest that by encouraging physical activity and healthy eating, and promoting an overall culture of health, employers can:

  • Increase productivity
  • Lower turnover
  • Reduce absenteeism
  • Reduce health care costs

American employers face increasing health-care expenses and health-related losses in productivity that cost an estimated $225.8 billion a year. Employers face $12.7 billion in annual medical expenses caused by obesity alone.

The American Heart Association’s goal by the year 2020 is to reduce the rate of death from cardiovascular diseases and stroke by 20 percent, and to improve the heart health of all Americans by 20 percent.