Highmark state’s first platinum “Fit-Friendly Worksite” - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

Highmark state’s first platinum “Fit-Friendly Worksite”

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Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield West Virginia is the first company in West Virginia to be recognized as a platinum-level "Fit-Friendly Worksite" by the American Heart Association.

The AHA designation recognizes a culture of wellness for employees and measurable outcomes that include decreased health care expenses and improved workforce productivity.

"We are honored to be recognized at the highest level by the American Heart Association in the Fit-Friendly Worksite program," said Anna Silberman, Highmark vice president of clinical client relations.

"We are constantly working to grow and advance a worksite wellness strategy at Highmark that employs data-driven, progressive and personalized programs, services and resources. We're a strong advocate of wellness in our own work environment, and we're also helping our customers to build impactful worksite wellness programs into their cultures every day."

According to the AHA, platinum-level Fit-Friendly Worksite employers:

•Offer employees physical activity options in the workplace;

•Increase healthy-eating options at the worksite;

•Promote a wellness culture in the workplace;

•Implement at least nine criteria outlined by the AHA in the areas of physical activity, nutrition and culture; and

•Demonstrate measurable outcomes related to workplace wellness.

"To see a company like Highmark embrace workplace wellness to this level is very rewarding and encouraging," said Holly Bagyi, metro executive director for the American Heart Association in West Virginia. "Highmark's work shows how healthier employees not only create a better work atmosphere but also create savings in health care costs. It's truly a win-win for all involved."

Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield West Virginia's locations in Charleston, Wheeling and Parkersburg are among those worksites recognized by the AHA.

The AHA's "Fit-Friendly Worksite" program is a catalyst for positive change in the American workforce by helping worksites make their employees' health and wellness a priority.

American employers are losing an estimated $225.8 billion a year because of health care expenses and health-related losses in productivity, and those numbers are rising. Many American adults spend most of their waking hours at sedentary jobs, raising their risk for a host of medical problems such as obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes. Employers face $12.7 billion in annual medical expenses due to obesity alone.

More information about the Fit-Friendly Worksites program is available at www.startwalkingnow.org.