In The News

Simi Valley Hospital Recognized for Employee Wellness Program

American Heart Association publishes list of Fit-Friendly Companies in Forbes magazine

2008 Gold Achievement SealTwo area businesses have been recognized by the American Heart Association’s Start! Fit-Friendly Companies Program for promoting physical activity and health in the workplace.

“These companies should be applauded,” said Jeremy Brewer, director of marketing and communication for Simi Valley Hospital. “They have made big strides in an area critical to our overall health. At Simi Valley Hospital, we have seen great changes and healthier employees, which is a win-win for the company and the employees.”

Adult Americans spend the majority of their waking hours at work, many in sedentary careers — amplifying the risk for medical problems such as obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes. Obesity alone costs American businesses $12.7 billion in medical expenses and $225.8 billion in health-related productivity losses per year.

“Time constraints and job responsibilities are employees’ biggest obstacles to exercising. That’s why the Start! Fit-Friendly Companies program encourages employers to allow employees to walk while at work,” said Ally Walker, Sr. Business Development Director. “Walking has the lowest dropout rate of any physical activity.

“Furthermore, studies suggest that implementing a worksite physical activity program and promoting a culture of physical activity will help companies increase productivity, reduce absenteeism, lower turnover and reduce hard costs.” Research shows that employers can save $16 for every $1 they spend on health and wellness.

Start! Fit-Friendly Companies Program participants implement various options to encourage physical activity, nutrition and culture enhancements such as on-site walking routes, healthy food options in cafeterias and vending machines, annual employee health risk assessments and online tracking tools.

A special advertising section in the Oct. 27, 2008 issue of Forbes magazine will include a list of the companies across the nation participating in Start!

Companies interested in joining the Start! Fit-Friendly Companies Program should contact the Ventura County American Heart Association office or visit www.americanheart.org/start to download an application. Applications are due in January for review by a volunteer expert panel. The panel consists of seven physicians, all of whom are American Heart Association volunteers.

Start! is sponsored nationally by SUBWAY® restaurants, Healthy Choice® and AstraZeneca and locally sponsored by Simi Valley Hospital. For more information about the Start! Fit-Friendly Companies Program, visit www.americanheart.org/start.

About the American Heart Association

Founded in 1924, the American Heart Association today is the nation’s oldest and largest voluntary health organization dedicated to building healthier lives, free of heart disease and stroke. These diseases, America’s No. 1 and No. 3 killers, and all other cardiovascular diseases claim nearly 870,000 lives a year. In fiscal year 2006–07 the association invested more than $554 million in research, professional and public education, advocacy and community service programs to help all Americans live longer, healthier lives. To learn more, call 1-800-AHA-USA1 or visit www.americanheart.org.

Posted 9/30/08