BlueCross BlueShield of Georgia Recognized as an
American Heart Association Fit-Friendly Worksite
Worksites take steps to decrease health care expenses, increase productivity
ATLANTA – June 12, 2014 – Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia, Inc. and BlueCross BlueShield Healthcare Plan of Georgia, Inc. (collectively “BCBSGa”), has been recognized as a Platinum-Level Fit-Friendly Worksite by the American Heart Association for helping employees maintain a healthy lifestyle.
“At BlueCross and BlueShield of Georgia we strive to create an environment where it’s easier to make healthy choices, provide results oriented wellness programs, promote overall wellbeing and reward healthy outcomes. In fact, our wellness programs are a key component of our employee benefits package,” said Morgan Kendrick, President of BCBSGa. “Our programs target key health improvement opportunities – move more, stress less, eat better, practice prevention and stop smoking. We’re committed to providing the best workplace environment possible and being recognized by the American Heart Association as a Platinum-Level Fit-Friendly Worksite reinforces the work we’ve done so far.”
· 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.
BCBSGa provides on-site fitness centers or health club reimbursements, friendly fitness competitions among its associates, weight management programs and incentives toward the cost of health care coverage for demonstrating healthy behaviors –promoting an overall healthy lifestyle.
The Fit-Friendly Worksites program is a catalyst for positive change in the American workforce by helping worksites make their employees’ health and wellness a priority.
According to the American Heart Association, 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. They are listed on the program’s national website and 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 employers’ bottom line,” said Janna Brown, AHA Greater Southeast Affiliate Fit-Friendly representative. “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 1-800-AHA-USA-1 (1-800-242-8721) or visit heart.org/worksitewellness.