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American Heart Association Nationally Recognizes 11 South Jersey Employers

 

Atlantic, Camden, Cape May and Cumberland counties represented

Robbinsville, NJ, September 23, 2014 –The American Heart Association and American Stroke Association announced 11 Southern New Jerseyemployers recently received national recognition for promoting physical activity and health in the workplace through the Fit Friendly Worksite program. The program is part of the American Heart Association’s national healthy living initiative My Heart. My Life., which offers simple solutions to improve nutrition, physical activity and children’s health.

The Fit Friendly Worksite program helps businesses improve employee wellness and morale, while lowering health care costs. Organizations reach Fit Friendly Gold-level status by implementing various 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.

Since the Fit-Friendly program began in 2007, more than 2,700 worksites representing more than 5.6 million employees have participated. This helps combat the increasing rate of obesity among adults as Americans spend an average of 47 hours per week at work, which is 164 hours more per year than a generation ago. The number of sedentary jobs among Americans has also accelerated, rising 83 percent since 1950.

In 2014, eight Fit Friendly Gold-level Worksites in Southern New Jersey received recognition including Cape Regional Medical Center, Cape May; Cooper Levenson Attorneys At Law, Atlantic City; Kramer Beverage Company LLC, Hammonton; Sun National Bank, Vineland; Township of Middle, Cape May Court House; Wheaton Industries, Millville; JACE, Cherry Hill; and Kennedy Health System, Cherry Hill.

Companies achieve Platinum recognition – the highest tier – by taking the program a step further by measuring the outcomes of their wellness efforts such as employee behavior change or cost savings.  Three Southern New Jersey employers received Platinum-level recognition in 2014, including AtlantiCare, Egg Harbor Township; South Jersey Industries, Folsom, and American Water, Voorhees.

“Congratulations to all the Southern New Jersey Fit Friendly Worksites,” said Howard A. Levite, MD, president of the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association Southern New Jersey Board of Directors and medical director of the Heart Institute and Cardiac Catheterization Labs at AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center. We commend these employers for their progressive leadership and commitment to the health and well-being of their employees.”

Fit Friendly companies are publically recognized at local Heart Walk events as well as several times a year in local print publications.  To view the complete list of Fit-Friendly Worksites, or to apply for recognition, visit: www.heart.org/fitfriendly or call the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association New Jersey office at 609.208.0020.  Applications are reviewed twice per year and the next deadline is November 1, 2014.

According to the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association, heart disease and stroke continue to be the nation’s No. 1 and No. 4 killers, and a startling 66 percent of Americans are overweight. Cardiovascular diseases are largely preventable, yet they cost American businesses billions of dollars a year in health care costs and lost productivity.  Physical inactivity doubles the risk of heart disease. The American Heart Association encourages walking as the exercise of choice because it has the lowest dropout rate of any physical activity, and specifically encourages walking at work since Americans are increasingly sedentary in their jobs.

The American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity weekly – that’s about 20 minutes every day. Walking vigorously for 30 minutes a day can help reduce high blood pressure and cholesterol and reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. In fact, studies show that some adults may gain as many as two hours of life expectancy for each hour of regular, vigorous physical activity.  For more information visit www.heart.org/myheartmylife.

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About the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association

The American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association are 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 American Heart Association is the nation’s oldest and largest voluntary organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke. The American Stroke Association is a division of the American Heart Association. To learn more or to get involved, call 1-800-AHA-USA1, visit heart.org or call any of our offices around the country. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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