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Video: Worksite Wellness Programs Lower Healthcare Costs, Make Employees Healthier
Date:9/30/2009

"We are making great strides in workplace wellness but we also know that half of employees don't have access to these programs, mainly because they work in small companies or for employers that have a small number of employees at multiple sites," said Carnethon. "We are hoping this paper shows employers large and small the benefits these programs may provide to both their employees and their bottom line."

The paper recommends incremental changes to get employees on track, recognizing there is no one-size-fits-all approach to wellness. The paper also outlines keys to a successful worksite wellness program. These include tobacco cessation and prevention, regular physical activity, stress management/reduction, early detection/screening, nutrition education and promotion, and weight management. They also include disease management, cardiovascular disease education including cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and Automated External Defibrillator (AED) training, and changes in the work environment to encourage healthy behaviors and promote occupational safety and health.

The policy paper is published at the same time as the American Heart Association revealed its 2009 list of Start! Fit-Friendly Companies on www.startwalkingnow.org. With more than 1,200 companies recognized -- an all-time high -- employers are clearly getting the message about worksite wellness. The Start Fit-Friendly Companies Program recognizes employers who create a culture of physical activity and health in the workplace, and provides free walking path kits and online tracking tools for companies that want to get involved.

The American Heart Association also champions worksite wellness programs in its healthcare reform efforts, supporting an amendment that will be offered in a U.S. House Energy and Commerce bill to provide grants for qualified workplace wellness programs. A similar provision was included in the
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SOURCE American Heart Association
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