UW Hospital and Clinics Garners Award for Encouraging Healthy Employees
MADISON - The American Heart Association has awarded the University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics the "Start! Fit-Friendly Company Gold Level Award" for creating physical activity programs in the workplace and encouraging the health of employees.
UW Hospital and Clinics won the Gold Award by offering support for employee exercise, increasing healthy eating options at work, promoting a culture of wellness and implementing new activities aimed at improving health.
The American Heart Association gave its top award after reviewing UW Hospital and Clinics'achievements in these areas.
"It's extremely important as health care providers that our employees have every opportunity to augment their healthy choices - including nutrition, exercise and other activities," said University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics President and CEO Donna Katen-Bahensky. "I am extremely proud that the Hospital and Clinics has received this national recognition of these efforts, but I am even more proud of the employees who dedicate time to ensuring their own health so that they can better serve our patients."
While some workplaces can be places of physical inertia and vending machine dining, research shows that workplace physical activity programs can help to increase productivity, reduce absenteeism, lower turnover and reduce health care costs.
UW Hospital and Clinics offers support and encouragement for employees to quit bad health habits, such as smoking, and take up good ones, such as regular exercise. To do that, the hospital lists sponsored participation activities ranging from "Spring Training" and noon-hour walking clubs to a golf league.
The hospital also supports employees in better nutrition, ranging from improved food choices at the Lake Mendota Grill in the hospital to encouraging employees to participate in community supported agriculture, resulting in weekly deliveries of fresh produce from local farms.
To give employees better information about their health, the hospital offers nutrition assessments, sport medicine evaluations and classes in topics ranging from preventing stroke and heart disease to learning stress management through mindfulness meditation.
UW Hospital and Clinics won the gold award by creating at least six physical activities, two nutrition activities and one cultural activity.
"Time constraints and job responsibilities are employees' biggest obstacles to exercising. That's why the American Heart Association's Start! Fit-Friendly Companies program encourages employers to allow employees to walk while at work," said Tom Luedtke, Start! Director, American Heart Association. "The AHA applauds the UW Hospital and Clinics for being recognized as a Madison Start! Fit-Friendly Company."
Date Published: 04/28/2009