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Companies Have Opportunity to Be Recognized as Fit-Friendly Workplaces

American Heart Association Program Promotes Corporate Wellness, Cultural Change

CHICAGO, Feb. 24, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The American Heart Association is encouraging companies that create and promote a culture of physical activity and health to submit an application to be considered for the Association's Fit-Friendly Companies Award.  Applications are due by April 1 and can be found at www.heart.org/fitfriendly.

The American Heart Association's Fit-Friendly Companies program will recognize employers who champion the health and wellness of their employees by creating and encouraging a culture of physical activity in the workplace. Companies can apply to be recognized by the American Heart Association as "Fit Friendly" -- a certification they can use in their hiring and recruitment processes. Companies who want to reach this goal must meet criteria set by the American Heart Association.

There are Gold, Platinum, Worksite Innovation, and Community Fitness Innovation award levels. Companies will be judged on three criteria: physical activities that are encouraged on site; nutritional education and healthy food options that are available; and the general culture of health promoted at the work place. 

In 2013, the Midwest Affiliate recognized 289 companies that impacted 704,000 employees in 11 states.

Obesity costs American companies $208 billion per year in lost productivity. And physical inactivity doubles the risk of heart disease, the No. 1 killer in America. With healthcare costs skyrocketing and obesity and Type 2 diabetes on the rise, the American Heart Association encourages companies to promote physical activity and health in the workplace. The American Heart Association is offering employers an opportunity to proactively address these issues through its Fit-Friendly Companies Program.

Employers who adopt the American Heart Association's Fit Friendly Companies Program will also be recognized by the AHA on the program's national website. In addition, eligible companies will be granted the right to use the program's annual recognition seal for internal communications to employees and external, recruitment-related communications.

Companies interested in joining the American Heart Association's Fit-Friendly Companies Program can download instructions and the official application at www.heart.org/fitfriendly or contact their local American Heart Association office for more information. Applications are due by April 1 for review by an expert panel.

SOURCE American Heart Association

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