Sentara Healthcare Recognized for its Employee Health and Wellness Programs
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Sentara Healthcare Recognized for its Employee Health and Wellness Programs 

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  Sentara Wins Platinum Award from American Heart Association for Second Year

NORFOLK, VA. (May 10, 2010) - For a second year in a row, Sentara Healthcare received the American Heart Association’s Platinum Level award for their Start! Fit Friendly program that focuses on health and wellness programs for employees in an effort to drive down healthcare costs and help employees live healthier lives.

Terrina Thomas, Sentara’s director of community health and prevention comments, "Even though Sentara has had similar programs since 1994, such as the Healthy Edge Program, it still feels good to receive the recognition. Our program’s success is due to our eager employees who are willing to meet their goals. The monetary incentive helps to fuel their goals."

Sentara’s health and wellness program, Mission: Health, include: Healthy Heart, a program focused on heart health; Get Off Your Butt: Stay Smokeless for Life, a program designed to stop using tobacco to benefit your health; Eating for Life, a program that helps to develop healthy eating and exercise habits; Yoga, stretching and strengthening exercises; and WalkAbout with Healthy Edge, a structured walking program.

The American Heart Association’s Start! Fit-Friendly Companies Program is a catalyst for positive change in the American workforce by helping companies make their employees’ health and wellness a priority.

Platinum-level 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 American Heart Association in the areas of physical activity, nutrition and culture
Demonstrate measurable outcomes related to workplace wellness

American employers face increasing healthcare expenses and health-related losses in productivity that cost an estimated $225.8 billion a year. Many adult American spend most of their waking hours at sedentary jobs. This 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. Additionally, a study published in 1986 in the New England Journal of Medicine found that individuals could gain two hours of life expectancy for every hour of regular, vigorous exercise they performed.

"Sentara has had health-oriented programs in place for many years as we feel it’s important for employees everywhere to be healthy," says Terrina Thomas.


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