MANHASSET, NY – For the second consecutive year, the American Heart Association (AHA) has awarded North Shore University Hospital its Platinum-Level Recognition for being a “Fit-Friendly” organization. The AHA’s Fit-Friendly Company Program recognizes employers who encourage the health of their employees and work to create a physically fit and healthy work environment.
“We’re proud to achieve the American Heart Association’s ‘Fit-Friendly’ designation for a second straight year,” said Susan Somerville, the hospital’s executive director. “We believe strongly that as members of a healthcare team, our employees have a responsibility to set a positive example for the patients they serve by maintaining a healthy lifestyle.”
The AHA program honors companies in several ways. “Gold” is the first tier of recognition and “Platinum” is the advanced tier. Recognition is valid for one year and companies must renew annually by completing a renewal form. The AHA offers employers numerous recommendations that enable them to achieve Fit-Friendly recognition, including: providing walking routes, promoting walking programs, and allowing staff to wear athletic shoes in the workplace on designated “sneaker days.”
About 3,450 employees at North Shore University Hospital (NSUH) – about half of the hospital’s entire workforce -- are tracking their steps as part of the North Shore-LIJ Health System’s “Walk to Paris,” the health system’s first-ever walking challenge that kicked off in March with 15,000 employees. The walk challenges employees to collaborate in teams of 10 to walk 7.2 million steps (the approximate length to Paris, France) in three months, or approximately 8,000 steps a day. Those who complete the challenge will be entered into a raffle for a grand prize and a second prize. Already armed with a high-tech $35 pedometer purchased by the health system, participants can also get discounted athletic footwear, thanks to a new program with Modell’s sporting goods. For the grand prize, North Shore-LIJ will send the winning team of 10 employees to Paris, paying for round-trip airfare in partnership with Delta Air Lines and a four-night hotel stay.
In addition to the walking challenge, NSUH offers on-site wellness programs such as Zumba and yoga fitness classes, individualized nutrition counseling, and classes and heavily attended multi-disciplinary health and wellness fairs. The hospital is also making strides in helping employees select healthier food options, by programming vending machines to display nutritional content to help employees make healthier selections.