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Tuesday, December 11 , 2018, 4:04 am | Fair 45º


American Heart Association Recognizes Cottage Health System as Fit-Friendly Company

It's the second year it has been honored at the platinum level

Cottage Health System has been recognized as a Platinum-Level Start! Fit-Friendly Company by the American Heart Association’s Start! movement for helping employees eat better and move more.

This is the third year that Cottage Health System has been recognized as a Start! Fit-Friendly Company, and its second year at the platinum level.

“Physical activity and employee wellness are important priorities at Cottage Health System,” said Ron Lafrican, director of benefits and compensation. “We’re committed to providing the best workplace environment possible and helping our employees lead healthier lives. We are honored and excited to be recognized by the American Heart Association’s Start! movement.”

Start! Fit-Friendly Companies implement at least nine criteria outlined by the American Heart Association in the areas of physical activity, nutrition and culture. Cottage Health System has been recognized for meeting these criteria through such offerings as:

» A nutritional counselor who is available to employees to discuss healthy eating habits and guidelines to assist them in healthy choices.

» Annual wellness and health fairs where attendees receive exercise tips, recipes and nutritional information.

» An on-site fitness center that employees can use for a small fee. Benefit-eligible employees can also go to outside fitness centers and get reimbursed under their wellness benefit.

» Yoga classes and seated massage services for employees. Employees with benefits can go to an outside massage therapist or take pilates, aerobics, swim and water aerobic classes, and get reimbursed under their wellness benefit.

» A Healthy Balance Program that includes fitness and nutrition.

» Healthy cafeteria lunches that are fewer than 500 calories. Organic options have been added to the salad bar, and two cooked vegetables have been to the steam table. It has started to buy local grass-fed beef.

» Smoking cessation classes, plus mental health fairs, cancer and stroke seminars.

Start! Fit-Friendly Companies also promote a “culture of wellness.” One of the ways Cottage Health System achieves this is by offering employees an online tool called My e-PHIT. This program inspires employees and their family members to focus on their health. It is a comprehensive health improvement program designed to help the participant get healthy and stay healthy. Through this program, participants have access to health assessments, fitness activities, health coaching and a comprehensive library of health information that provides incentives for participation in the program.

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, click here or call 805.963.8862.

— Eric Thompson is the senior director of communications and marketing for the American Heart Association.


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