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News Room: Press Releases

Employee wellness program recognized

Virtua has been recognized by the American Heart Association's "Start! Fit-Friendly Companies Program" for promoting physical activity and health in the workplace. Virtua has made great strides in an area critical to overall health, and in turn seen healthier employees, which is a win-win for the nonprofit. Adult Americans spend the majority of their waking hours at work, many in sedentary careers — amplifying the risk for medical problems such as obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes. Obesity alone costs American businesses $12.7 billion in medical expenses and $225.8 billion in health-related productivity losses per year. "Time constraints and job responsibilities are employees' biggest obstacles to exercising," said Andrew Faupel, Virtua's Director of Wellness. "That's why the Start! Fit-Friendly Companies program encourages employers to allow employees to walk while at work. Walking has the lowest dropout rate of any physical activity." Start! Fit-Friendly Companies Program participants implement various options to encourage physical activity, nutrition and culture enhancements such as on-site walking routes, healthy food options in cafeterias and vending machines, annual employee health risk assessments and online tracking tools. "Studies suggest that implementing a worksite physical activity program and promoting a culture of wellness will help companies increase productivity, reduce absenteeism, lower turnover and decrease costs associated with avoidable health disease," Faupel said. A special advertising section in the Oct. 27, 2008 issue of Forbes magazine included a list of companies across the nation participating in Start! Companies interested in joining the Start! Fit-Friendly Companies Program should contact the American Heart Association office in Robbinsville, New Jersey at (609) 208-0080 or visit www.americanheart.org/start to download an application. Applications are due in January for review by a volunteer expert panel. The panel consists of seven physicians, all of whom are American Heart Association volunteers. Start! is sponsored nationally by Subway restaurants, Healthy Choice and AstraZeneca. For more information about the Start! Fit-Friendly Companies Program, visit heart.org/start.
As one of New Jersey’s largest health systems, Virtua helps people be well, get well and stay well through a comprehensive range of health care services. Services are delivered through three health and wellness centers, three fitness centers, four acute care hospitals, primary and specialty physician practices with more than 240 physicians, urgent care centers, seven ambulatory surgery centers, home health services, two long-term care and rehabilitation centers, 12 paramedic units and a wide range of outpatient services. A leader in maternal and child health services, Virtua delivers more than 8,000 babies a year. Virtua also provides employment and wellness services to 1,700 businesses and corporations. An innovator in clinical and information technology such as electronic medical records, Virtua is recognized for its ground-breaking partnerships with GE Healthcare, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) and the Fox Chase Cancer Center. It is the official orthopedic provider for the Philadelphia Flyers. Virtua employs more than 8,400 people and has been honored as the #1 Best Place to Work in the Delaware Valley for seven consecutive years. It is the recipient of the Consumer Choice Award from the National Research Corporation. For more information, visit  www.virtua.org or www.virtuabroadcastnetwork.org.