SPRINGFIELD, Mo.—With everything from healthier entrées in the hospital dining facilities to incentives for exercising regularly, the American Heart Association (AHA) says Mercy Springfield is a Platinum-Level Fit-Friendly Company.
“We are honored to be recognized with this award,” said Mercy Hospital Springfield chief operating officer, Jay Guffey. “Our commitment to the community and each other is to improve the health of those we serve, and that includes our co-workers.”
· Offer employees physical activity options in the workplace.
· Increase healthy eating options at the worksite.
· Promote a wellness culture in the workplace.
· Demonstrate measurable outcomes related to workplace wellness.
Mercy Springfield co-workers who want to log a few miles during their breaks can take a walk on any of the mapped routes on the hospital campus, including underground tunnels that run between buildings. A recent cafeteria overhaul increased nutritious options and gave co-workers a discount for making healthier selections. Voluntary health risk assessments let co-workers check their progress for free as they measure indicators such as body mass index and cholesterol. It’s all part of a wellness culture Mercy has dubbed healthification. “It’s a way for us to dedicate ourselves to healthy lifestyles in our daily activities which is in line with the AHA’s efforts to reduce heart disease,” said Guffey.
Efforts like that will pay off for companies. The American Heart Association says employers in the United States are losing an estimated $225.8 billion a year because of health care expenses and health-related losses in productivity. Many spend most of their waking hours at sedentary jobs and their lack of physical activity raises their risk for health problems like obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes. Employers face $12.7 billion in annual medical expenses due to obesity alone.
An easy way to turn the tide is to get workers walking. The American Heart Association has a website devoted to helping. Just log on to www.startwalkingnow.org