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Florida Hospitals in Volusia-Flagler Receive American Heart Association’s Fit Friendly Awards


VOLUSIA & FLAGLER COUNTIES, Fla., February 26, 2014 –Florida Hospital DeLand, Florida Hospital Flagler and Florida Hospital Memorial Medical Center have each been recognized as Platinum-Level Fit-Friendly Worksites by the American Heart Association for helping employees eat better and move more. 

Florida Hospital Fish Memorial was recognized as a Gold-Level Fit-Friendly Worksite by the American Heart Association. 

The gold level is awarded to worksites that offer employees physical activity support, increase healthy-eating options at work and promote a wellness culture. To achieve gold level, a worksite must implement at least six physical activities, two nutrition activities and one culture activity. The platinum level is awarded to worksites that fulfill all the gold-level criteria and demonstrate at least one behavior change, cost-savings outcome or positive return-on-investment.

“Physical activity and employee wellness are important priorities at all of our Florida Hospital locations in Volusia and Flagler counties,” said Daryl Tol, Florida Hospital Volusia/Flagler CEO. “We are honored and excited to be recognized by the American Heart Association and are committed to providing the best workplace environment possible. This will benefit our employees’ health and produce even more positive results for our hospitals overall.” 

To make employee health a top priority within the workplace, the Florida Hospitals in Volusia and Flagler counties began promoting walking by marking onsite walking trails and issuing pedometers to employees, offering onsite exercise classes, including walking, running and bicycling clubs, and providing educational seminars on nutrition and making healthy choices. The hospitals took additional steps by offering annual employee health risk assessments/wellness screenings at each campus and discounts to a wellness program that includes membership to a local fitness facility.

“By implementing a comprehensive employee wellness program, our hospitals aim to improve employee wellbeing and engagement,” said Jill Piazza, Florida Hospital Volusia/Flagler Director of Health and Performance.  “Comprehensive wellness programs also have greater potential to improve productivity of employees and reduce employee absenteeism as well as the cost of providing healthcare to employees.” 

The American Heart Association’s Fit-Friendly Worksites 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 healthcare expenses and health-related losses in productivity, and those numbers are rising. Many American adults spend most of their waking hours at sedentary jobs. Their lack of regular physical activity raises 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. The American Heart Association is working to change corporate cultures by motivating employees to start walking, which has the lowest dropout rate of any physical activity. 

“The Fit-Friendly Worksites Program offers a unique, easy-to-implement opportunity for corporations to increase employees’ physical activity, which will help improve their health – and their employers’ bottom line,” said Jill Piazza, Florida Hospital Volusia/Flagler Director of Health and Performance. “Even people who haven’t exercised regularly until middle age can reap significant benefits by starting a walking program. A study published in 1986 in the New England Journal of Medicine found that some adults may gain two hours of life expectancy for every hour of regular, vigorous exercise they performed.” 

For more information about the Fit-Friendly Worksites program and how it is helping to improve the health of Americans by focusing on an activity that is convenient, free and easy, visit startwalkingnow.org. 

About the American Heart Association
The American Heart Association is devoted to saving people from heart disease and stroke – America’s No. 1 and No. 4 killers. We team with millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, fight for stronger public health policies, and provide lifesaving tools and information to prevent and treat these diseases. The Dallas-based association is the nation’s oldest and largest voluntary organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke. To learn more or join us, call 1-800-AHA-USA1 or any of our offices around the country, or visit heart.org.

About Florida Hospital Volusia/Flagler
Florida Hospital Volusia/Flagler is a member of Adventist Health System, a faith-based health care organization with 45 hospital campuses and nearly 8,300 licensed beds in 10 states. With five hospitals in Volusia and Flagler counties, Florida Hospital is the largest hospital system in the area, with 788 beds, 4,800 employees, and 650,000 patients every year. Florida Hospital Volusia/Flagler’s mission is to extend the healing ministry of Christ, and in 2013, the hosptials collectively contributed nearly $104 million in benefits to the underprivileged, the community’s overall health and wellness and spiritual needs, and capital improvements.

Photo Caption:
Florida Hospital Fish Memorial was recently designated as a Gold-Level Fit-Friendly Worksite by the American Heart Association for helping employees eat better and move more. To earn this award, Florida Hospital Fish Memorial had to make employee health a priority within the workplace. The hospital began promoting walking by marking onsite walking trails and issuing pedometers to employees, as well as providing educational seminars on nutrition and making healthy choices. Here, Karen O'Reilly, Florida Hospital Fish Memorial director of nutritional services, selects creates her own healthy salad during lunch in the hospital’s cafeteria.