Companies take steps to decrease healthcare expenses, increase productivity
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla., Oct. 20, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Solstice Benefits 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 Solstice. We are honored and excited to be recognized by the American Heart Association's Start! movement as a Gold-Level Start! Fit-Friendly Company," said Ellen deClaire, Director of Human Resources at Solstice. "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. As a Heart Walk sponsor, we are proud to embrace the values of the American Heart Association and integrate them into our workplace."
- 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
This year, Solstice offered employees nutritional counseling, smoking cessation programs, CPR training, weight loss programs, indoor walking paths, incorporated healthy snacks and provided a dedicated treadmill in the office to encourage wellness and activity.
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.
Recognition is a critical component of the Start! Fit-Friendly Companies Program. Employers that join this program qualify for official recognition by the American Heart Association. They are listed on the program's national Web site, as well as at the Broward Heart Walk. Qualifying companies also have the right to use the program's annual recognition seal for internal communications and with external, recruitment-related communications.
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 Kelly Alvarez Vitale, American Heart Association. "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, call 954.370.4338 or visit startwalkingnow.org.
About Solstice Benefits:
Solstice, a Broward based company, is one of the largest ancillary benefits providers in Florida, with a commitment to improving health. Solstice was recently awarded the prestigious title of "Florida's Best Companies 2011" by Florida Trend and expanded into the New York metro market in 2010. Their commitment to visual and oral health extends into their corporate initiatives, and through integrated programs that incorporate visual and oral health into overall wellness. Solstice offers dental, vision and life benefits plans to groups and consumers. They are a customer service oriented company that values exceptional service, integrity and value-added benefits. Their well-rounded plans, expansive network and service-oriented mentality keep them in the forefront of their industry. For information on Solstice, please contact 1.877.760.2247 or visit www.solsticebenefits.com.
About the American Heart Association
The American Heart Association is devoted to saving people from heart disease and stroke – America's No. 1 and No. 3 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 association is the nation's oldest and largest voluntary organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke. To learn more or join us, call 1-800-AHA-USA1 or any of our offices around the country, or visit heart.org.
SOURCE Solstice Benefits, Inc.