PacificSource Health Plans Honored With American Heart Association's Community Innovation Award
In recognition of its community wellness initiatives at schools in Eugene and Springfield, PacificSource Health Plans is one of only 43 companies nationwide to receive the prestigious Community Innovation Award from the American Heart Association. Additionally, the AHA has recognized PacificSource as a Platinum-Level Fit-Friendly Worksite.
The Community Innovation Award is given to a workplace that leads the development and implementation of innovative, effective programs that promote physical activity or nutrition not only in the workplace, but also in the community.
Recognizing that healthy employees lead to more active and engaged teachers in the classroom, PacificSource created the Healthy Life Schools Challenge, an annual friendly competition between Springfield and Bethel School Districts. The challenge encouraged district employees at all 33 schools to replace at least one high calorie snack with a serving of fresh vegetables or fruit each day for four weeks. Participants tracked online how many fruits and vegetables they consumed at healthylifechallenge.org, and the winning elementary, middle and high schools each received a $1,000 donation from PacificSource to be used toward health and wellness initiatives at their schools.
As part of its sponsorship of the event, PacificSource also offered before-and-after biometric screenings at no charge, and delivered boxes of fruit and vegetables weekly to participating schools.
“Employee wellness is an important priority at PacificSource, so it’s only fitting that we would be committed to making positive change for other employees in our community as well,” said Alexa Shook, director of PacificSource Healthy Life. “We are honored to be recognized by the American Heart Association with the Community Innovation Award, which reinforces our belief that the PacificSource Healthy Life Schools Challenge is a fantastic program that is making a measurable impact on the health of our local schools.”
PacificSource was also recognized by the American Heart Association as a Platinum-Level Fit-Friendly Worksite for its commitment to helping its own employees eat better and be more active. According to the AHA, Platinum-level Fit-Friendly Worksite employers are those organizations that:
· Offer employees physical activity options
· Offer healthy eating options
· Promote a culture of wellness
· Implement at least nine criteria outlined by the AHA in the areas of physical activity, nutrition and culture
PacificSource organizes lunch-hour and after-work exercise groups, and covers entry fees for employees who want to participate in events and races. The company also stocks healthy snack options in its workplace vending machines, and nutritious meals are catered at internal events and meetings.
According to the American Heart Association, U.S. employers are losing an estimated $225.8 billion a year because of healthcare expenses and health-related losses in productivity. 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. Employers face $12.7 billion in annual medical expenses due to obesity alone.The American Heart Association is working to change corporate cultures by motivating employees to start walking, which has the lowest dropout rate of any physical activity.