Many of us spend a majority of our waking hours at sedentary jobs. That inactive 8 to 10 hours puts us at risk of developing a host of medical problems including obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes. The American Heart Association is trying to encourage employers to change that with their "My Heart, My Life" initiative. Nancy Naeve Brown has more on one of the most fit friendly company's in the state.
Chrissy Spoo with the American Heart Association announces, "You are the only Sioux Falls are hospital to achieve this distinction you are not only talking the talk with your patients you are walking the walk everyday and showing how to live a heart healthy life."
For the fourth year in a row, the Avera Heart Hospital has been recognized as a Gold Level Start! Fit Friendly Company by the American Heart Association. CEO Jon Soderholm says employee wellness is an important priority and he wants the Avera Heart Hospital to be a role model for the community that's why instead of celebrating their award with cake, they served apples.
Jon says, "The other part that's important to that our employees are just healthier and when they are healthier they are at work. When they are healthier and at work we don't spend money on our health care plan. With 400 employees our health care plan is pretty expensive. If you take the whole thing together we can show the community it's the right thing to do. "
Chrissy Spoo says, "They recognize fit friendly companies based on 3 focus areas: providing opportunities for exercise during the day, providing nutritious healthy food choices and promoting an overall culture of wellness. The employees are encouraged to walk while on the clock.
Chrissy says, "You may think it's counter intuitive by research has actually shown that employees who take a 15 minute walking break during the day are actually more productive so from a company's prospective they're actually making smart business choice by incorporating wellness activities into their daily program."
Jon says, "Number one we try to eat healthy. If you eat in our cafeteria, you will see no grease, no deep fat fryer. We work hard, the whole dietary group works hard to have healthy food. Even for me, they've taught me to eat better except for lentil soup which I haven't gotten used to."
Lentil soup may not be Mr. Soderholm's cup of tea, but what they are serving and what they are doing here certainly is. It's why they are the considered the gold standard in helping employees eat better and move more.
Research shows physically active people can save $500 a year in health care costs. This year Avera Heart Hospital employees had the opportunity to attend a free health fair, take part in a team weight loss challenge, get training tips for running a 5k and participate in National Walk at Work Day to name a few.
Avera Queen of Peace in Mitchell and Avera St. Luke's in Aberdeen were also named Fit Friendly Companies by the AHA.