UCI recognized as an American Heart Association Fit-Friendly Worksite

Campus has taken steps to decrease healthcare expenses, increase productivity

Irvine, Calif., April 11, 2013 – UC Irvine has been named a platinum-level Fit-Friendly Worksite by the American Heart Association for helping employees eat better and move more.

“Thanks to campuswide efforts, physical activity and employee wellness are important values at UC Irvine,” said Wendell Brase, vice chancellor of administrative & business services. “We are honored and excited to be recognized in this manner. We’re committed to providing the best workplace environment possible, which benefits employee health and produces positive results overall.”

The AHA’s Fit-Friendly Worksites program is a catalyst for change in the American workforce, helping businesses and institutions prioritize employee wellness. This is the third consecutive year UC Irvine has received the designation.

Platinum-level employers must meet the following on-site criteria:

  • Offer employees physical activity options.
  • Increase healthy eating choices.
  • Promote a wellness culture.
  • Implement at least nine criteria outlined by the AHA in the areas of physical activity, nutrition and culture.
  • Demonstrate measurable outcomes related to workplace wellness.

The campus’s UCI Living Well program supports employees in achieving a more balanced and healthy lifestyle both at work and at home. It encourages walking and other exercise, healthy eating and hydration, and it hosts an annual Wellness & Safety Fair open to faculty and staff.

American employers lose about $225.8 billion a year to healthcare expenses and health-related losses in productivity – about $12.7 billion annually due to obesity alone. Many workers spend most of their waking hours at sedentary jobs. Lack of regular physical activity raises their risk for obesity, high blood pressure and Type 2 diabetes. The AHA aims to alter corporate culture by motivating employees to start walking, which has the lowest dropout rate of any form of exercise.

For more information about the Fit-Friendly Worksites program and how it’s helping improve the health of Americans by focusing on an activity that’s convenient, free and easy, visit www.heart.org/fitfriendly.

About the American Heart Association: The Dallas-based AHA is the nation’s oldest and largest voluntary organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke – America’s No. 1 and No. 4 killers. It teams with millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, advocate stronger public health policies, and provide lifesaving tools and information to prevent and treat these diseases. To learn more or join, call 1-800-AHA-USA1 or visit heart.org.

About UC Irvine Medical Center: Orange County’s only university hospital, UC Irvine Medical Center offers acute- and general-care services at its 482,000-square-foot UC Irvine Douglas Hospital and is home to the county’s only Level I trauma center, American College of Surgeons-verified regional burn center and National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center. For 12 consecutive years, U.S. News & World Report has counted UC Irvine among “America’s Best Hospitals.”

About the University of California, Irvine: Founded in 1965, UCI is a top-ranked university dedicated to research, scholarship and community service. Led by Chancellor Michael Drake since 2005, UCI is among the most dynamic campuses in the University of California system, with more than 28,000 undergraduate and graduate students, 1,100 faculty and 9,400 staff. Orange County’s second-largest employer, UCI contributes an annual economic impact of $4.3 billion. For more UCI news, visit news.uci.edu.

News Radio: UCI maintains on campus an ISDN line for conducting interviews with its faculty and experts. Use of this line is available for a fee to radio news programs/stations that wish to interview UCI faculty and experts. Use of the ISDN line is subject to availability and approval by the university.

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