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Published on June 03, 2011

Abington Health Recognized as an American Heart Association Start! Fit-Friendly Company

Taking steps to decrease healthcare expenses, increase productivity

ABINGTON, PA (June, 2011) — Abington Health has been recognized as a Gold-Level Start! Fit-Friendly Company by the American Heart Association’s Start! initiative for helping employees eat better and move more.

“Physical activity and employee wellness are important priorities at Abington Health, says Meg McGoldrick, executive vice president and chief operating officer.  ”Abington Health includes Abington Memorial Hospital, Lansdale Hospital, Abington Health Center – Schilling Campus, Abington Health Center – Warminster Campus and Abington Health Physicians. We are honored and excited to be recognized by the American Heart Association’s Start! movement as a Gold-Level Start! Fit-Friendly Company. We’re committed to providing the best workplace environment possible. This will benefit our employees’ health and produce even more positive results for our company overall,” she added. 

Gold-level employers must meet the following criteria.

  • 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 six criteria outlined by the American Heart Association in the areas of physical activity, nutrition and culture

Abington Health offers employees free access to fitness centers at Abington Memorial Hospital and Abington Health Center – Schilling Campus, and provides classes such as yoga, zumba, reiki, aromatherapy, aquatic exercise, weight training and more.  In the last year, Abington Health has been offering free organized walks in the community, as well as at its walking trail at the Lansdale Hospital campus. Abington Health also offers only rBGH-free milk and partners with local co-op farmers to promote organic and sustainable foods used in the cafeteria meals and sold to employees.  

The Start! Fit-Friendly Companies Program is a catalyst for positive change in the American workforce by helping companies make their employees’ health and wellness a priority.

American employers face increasing healthcare expenses and health-related losses in productivity that cost an estimated $225.8 billion a year. 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. Start! helps change corporate cultures by motivating employees to start walking, which has the lowest dropout rate of any physical activity.

Participating companies also get free access to program resources such as the free Start! Walking Program, materials to help promote company wellness programs to employees, internal newsletter templates and consultation on CPR/AED (automated external defibrillator) programs.

Start! also offers MyStart! Online, a free Web-based fitness and nutrition tracker for companies and individuals. A “dashboard” feature lets HR or wellness managers view employee participation in Start!

“The Start! Fit-Friendly Companies Program offers a unique, easy-to-implement opportunity for corporations to increase employees’ physical activity, which will help improve their health – and their employers’ bottom line,” said Meghan Patton, vice president, Human Resources at Abington Health. “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 Start! Fit-Friendly Companies Program and how it is helping to improve the health of Americans by focusing on an activity that is convenient, free and easy, visit startwalkingnow.org.

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