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Press Release

Immediate Release: Monday, June 10, 2013

Contact: CDC Media Relations, Office of Communication
(404) 639-3286

CDC partners with 104 employers for National Healthy Worksite Program

Initiative aims to prevent chronic disease, improve worker productivity, control health costs

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, through its partner Viridian Health Management, has identified 104 employers in eight counties across the nation that have voluntarily chosen to participate in the National Healthy Worksite Program, a new initiative aimed at reducing chronic disease and building a healthier, more productive U.S. workforce. The initiative primarily focuses on small and mid-sized employers.

CDC’s National Healthy Worksite Program is supported through the Affordable Care Act’s Prevention and Public Health Fund, and is designed to assist employers in building successful workplace wellness programs by implementing science-based disease prevention and wellness strategies to help reduce chronic diseases.  All program and implementation support to participating employers will be provided by Viridian Health Management over a 12- month period.  Viridian was selected as an implementation partner through a competitive process.

“Employers can increase productivity, cut health care costs and reduce the burden of heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes and other health problems in their workforce by making it easier for employees to be physically active, eat healthy foods, and not smoke,” said CDC Director, Tom Frieden, M.D. M.P.H.  “Our National Healthy Worksite Program is providing valuable tools to help employers create effective workplace wellness programs that will benefit employees and their families, their community, and the nation as a whole.”

The eight participating communities are Buchanan County, Mo.; Harris County, Texas; Kern County, Calif.; Marion County, Ind.; Philadelphia County, Pa.; Pierce County, Wash.; Shelby County, Tenn.; and Somerset County, Maine.

The communities were selected because of their high rates of chronic diseases and health risk behaviors such as smoking and physical inactivity.  Also important in the community selection process was the availability of local resources to support a sustainable workplace health program, such as proximity to hospitals and existing community health promotion programs.

Employers in the eight communities volunteered to participate and were chosen based on interest and industry diversity. A variety of large, medium, and small employers are volunteering to participate in this opportunity to improve the health and well-being of their employees. Each business will receive intensive support and expertise in developing a combination of interventions.  Employers can choose which strategies to implement that support physical activity, good nutrition, and tobacco-use cessation.  Examples include voluntarily choosing:

  • Nutrition counseling/education, worksite farmer’s markets, menu labels on healthy foods in vending machines and cafeterias, access to healthy foods in cafeterias and vending machines, and weight management counseling.
  • Tobacco-cessation counseling (including quit lines and health plans) and tobacco‐free campus policy.
  • Physical fitness/counseling, and walking clubs.

At the end of the program, a national evaluation will document best practices and models on how to successfully implement workplace health programs in small worksites more broadly.

“Through this new initiative, employers can help lead efforts in preventing chronic diseases by adopting strategies that encourage employees to improve their health,” said Ursula Bauer, Ph.D., M.P.H., director, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion.

A complete listing of the selected employers and more information about the program is located http://www.cdc.gov/NationalHealthyWorksite.

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