Gold Level award given to East Lycoming as a Fit Friendly Worksite
HUGHESVILLE – The American Heart Association recently recognized several companies in Pennsylvania as a Fit-Friendly worksite program. The East Lycoming School District was one of four to receive this prestigious award in Lycoming County. Companies are selected twice a year by a national committee according to Carmen Terry, Health and Wellness Coordinator with the Lycoming County Insurance Consortium and presented a Gold Award to the administrators and the board Tuesday, May 7 at 7 p.m. and also known as National Teacher’s Day.
The school district applied for the award in January, and in March they were notified that they were among “an elite group of awardees for this important initiative.” The district was rewarded with a certificate of merit by the American Heart Association for taking important steps to create “a culture of wellness by providing support to employees.”
Terry announced some key points that led to this recognition. “They fulfilled the criteria with some healthy options,” she said. Some of these options included nutritional and educational programs, physical activities, a health and wellness newsletter, mapped walking routes, fitness classes, vending machines with healthy options such as whole grains and water with reduced calories, and free worksite health screenings for employees. The school district even held a ‘Biggest Loser’ competition, and during the month of February, they held a Heart Health Campaign with a dress down “Red-Out” day.
Terry explained that now many jobs are sedentary and the Heart Association would like to increase the amount of physical activity across America. “The average American now works 47 hours a week,” she said. Studies show that by starting a worsite physical activity program, employers can increase productivity, reduce absenteeism, lower turnover, and reduce healthcare costs.
Heart disease is the number one killer in the U.S., and physical inactivity doubles the risk. Adult Americans spend most of their waking hours at work, many of them sitting at a desk.
The East Lycoming School District will also be recognized on the American Heart Association’s StartWalkingNow.org website and they will also be receiving an official plaque soon to be displayed at the school. The school’s nurses have also activated a plan for employee emergencies and developed emergency teams at each school.