UCI staff and faculty participate in the UCI Walks event
UCI staff and faculty participate in the UCI Walks event around the Ring Mall during the campus’s annual Wellness & Safety Fair. The expo also includes healthy snacks and information booths. Steve Zylius, UCI

Irvine, Calif., July 19, 2016 – The University of California, Irvine has been recognized for the sixth consecutive year as a platinum-level Fit-Friendly Worksite by the American Heart Association for helping employees eat better and move more.

“Employee wellness is a high priority at UCI. We are honored and excited about this AHA designation,” said Ramona Agrela, associate chancellor and chief human resources executive. “We’re committed to providing the best workplace environment possible. This will benefit our employees’ health and produce even more positive results for our campus overall.”

Under the AHA guidelines, 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 AHA in the areas of physical activity, nutrition and culture.
  • Demonstrate measurable outcomes.

As part of the campus’s efforts to offer a variety of wellness programs, the Move More campaign was recently launched to raise awareness of the benefits of increasing daily physical activity. It helps UCI employees add more movement to their lives with easy-to-implement tips for upping activity at work, campus walking maps, stretching and exercise videos, promotional posters, fact sheets and other resources. For more information about this program, visit http://www.wellness.uci.edu/movemore.html.

U.S. employers are losing about $225.8 billion a year because of healthcare expenses and health-related losses in productivity, and those numbers are rising. Many American adults spend most of their waking hours at sedentary jobs. Their lack of regular 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. The AHA is working to change corporate cultures by motivating employees to start walking, which has the lowest dropout rate of any physical activity.

Recognition is a critical component of the Fit-Friendly Worksites program. Employers that join qualify for official acknowledgement by the AHA and are listed on the national website. Qualifying workplaces also have the right to use the program’s annual seal for internal communications and external, recruitment-related communications.

For more information about UCI’s wellness programs, visit http://www.wellness.uci.edu. For more information about the Fit-Friendly Worksites program and how it’s helping to improve the health of Americans by focusing on the workplace, visit https://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/WorkplaceWellness/Fit-FriendlyWorksites/Fit-Friendly-Worksites_UCM_460748_SubHomePage.jsp.

About the American Heart Association: The American Heart Association is devoted to building healthier lives, free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke. Our mission drives everything we do. To improve the lives of all Americans, we provide public health education in a variety of ways. We team with millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, fight for stronger public health policies, and provide lifesaving tools and information to prevent and treat these diseases. The Dallas-based association is the nation’s oldest and largest voluntary organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke. To learn more or join us, visit heart.org or call 1-800-AHA-USA1 or any of our offices around the country.

About the University of California, Irvine: Founded in 1965, UCI is the youngest member of the prestigious Association of American Universities. The campus has produced three Nobel laureates and is known for its academic achievement, premier research, innovation and anteater mascot. Led by Chancellor Howard Gillman, UCI has more than 30,000 students and offers 192 degree programs. It’s located in one of the world’s safest and most economically vibrant communities and is Orange County’s second-largest employer, contributing $5 billion annually to the local economy. For more on UCI, visit www.uci.edu.

Media access: Radio programs/stations may, for a fee, use an on-campus ISDN line to interview UCI faculty and experts, subject to availability and university approval. For more UCI news, visit wp.communications.uci.edu. Additional resources for journalists may be found at communications.uci.edu/for-journalists.