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American Heart Association awards Fit-Friendly recognition to Middle Tennessee companies


Start! Fit-Friendly and American Heart AssociationNashville, TN – The American Heart Association has awarded 2010 Start! Fit-Friendly recognition to a group of Middle Tennessee companies, for their notable efforts to promote physical activity and health in the workplace.
Start! Fit-Friendly companies reach Gold level status by implementing various activities and programs to encourage physical activity, nutrition and culture enhancements such as on-site walking routes, healthy food choices in cafeterias and vending machines, annual employee health risk assessments and online tracking tools. Companies that achieve Platinum recognition — the highest tier — take the program a step further by measuring the outcomes of their wellness efforts.

 The Greater Southeast Affiliate of the American Heart Association had a total of 154 companies receive Fit-Friendly status this year. The national list of awardees totaled nearly one thousand companies.

Middle Tennessee companies designated as Start! Fit-Friendly for this year include the following:

Platinum Status:

  • Gaylord Opryland and Attractions
  • HealthStream
  • Nissan North America, Inc. – Franklin, TN
  • Onlife Health
  • Square D by Schneider Electric
  • Trane – Clarksville, TN Operations
  • Vanderbilt University

Gold Status:

  • A.O. Smith Water Products Company
  • American Heart Association- Greater Nashville
  • Anthem Care Management- Tennessee Office
  • Baptist Hospital
  • Batten & Shaw, Inc.
  • Brasfield & Gorrie
  • Bridgestone Americas, Inc. (also a winner for Worksite Innovation)
  • Comdata Corporation
  • CVS/Caremark
  • Earl Swensson Associates, Inc.
  • Enterprise Electric, LLC
  • Gaylord Entertainment
  • LifeWay Christian Resources
  • Lipscomb University
  • Metro Nashville Public Schools
  • Middle Tennessee Medical Center
  • Rutherford County Government
  • Saint Thomas Hospital
  • Sarah Cannon Research Institute
  • Trane – Nashville Sales Office

“Vanderbilt University is proud to be implementing the Start! program with our employee wellness campaign,” said Jeff Balser, M.D., Associate Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs and Dean of the School of Medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. “Our goal is to get our employees with the opportunity to be physically active while at work.”

American employers face increasing health care expenses and health-related losses in productivity that cost an estimated $225.8 billion a year. Many American adults spend most of their waking hours at sedentary jobs. Their lack of 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. Start! helps change corporate cultures by motivating employees to start walking, which has the lowest dropout rate of any physical activity.

“Study after study has shown that people who exercise on a regular basis have a significant reduction in heart attacks as compared to the rest of the population,” said Keith Churchwell, M.D., Executive Director and Chief Medical Officer of Vanderbilt Heart and Vascular Institute.
Employers that join the Fit-Friendly program qualify for official recognition by the American Heart Association. They are listed on the program’s national Web site, and were recognized at the Nashville Start! Heart Walk this past October 2nd. They will also receive a plaque and recognition letter for their efforts, and have the ability to use the program’s annual recognition seal for internal communications and with external, recruitment-related communications.

Participating companies also get free access to program resources such as the free Start! Walking Program, materials to help promote company wellness programs to employees, internal newsletter templates and consultation on CPR/AED (automated external defibrillator) programs. Start! also offers MyStart! Online, a free Web-based fitness and nutrition tracker for companies and individuals. A “dashboard” feature lets HR or wellness managers view employee participation in the Start! program.

Start! is sponsored nationally by SUBWAY® Restaurants, and locally by Vanderbilt Heart.




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