Published October 20, 2015
Volume 23, Number 10

Heart Association’s National Eating Healthy Day is a Great

Springboard to a Complete Workplace Wellness Program

American Heart Association

By Jay Hipps

While the holiday season is filled with tempting treats, it does not mean that you have to spend the coming months drowning in a vast sea of pumpkin-spice flavor. In fact, if you want to take a stand for healthy eating, you have a powerful tool at your disposal: the American Heart Association’s National Eating Healthy Day, which takes place this year on November 4. It’s also a great opportunity, with the Heart Association’s help, for companies to embark on a workplace wellness program. 

“The path towards making healthier food decisions starts with a single step, and the Heart Association is here to help make it fun and easy,” says Terry Mock, the senior director of communications and marketing at the American Heart Association’s Greater Bay Area office.

By registering at www.heart.org, companies, schools, or individuals can receive a free toolkit packed with information on how to adopt healthier eating habits.

“We know from research that being exposed to healthy food means you will develop a preference for that food over time,” says Rachel K. Johnson, Ph.D., MPH, RD, chair of the American Heart Association’s nutrition committee and professor of nutrition and medicine at the University of Vermont in Burlington. “For example, once you become accustomed to eating lower-sodium foods, you will find that foods you used to eat taste very salty. By adopting a healthier diet you will not only add years to your life but you’ll improve the quality of the years you have.”

Tips on eating additional fruits and vegetables and learning the difference between healthy fats and less desirable fats are some of the items that are available in the Heart Association’s toolkit. Even cooking at home more often can help lead to a healthier diet.

The Heart Association also offers resources for companies interested in workplace wellness.

“Investing in the health of employees is one of the best decisions a company can make,” says Mock. “Poor diet, lack of exercise and other major risk factors for heart disease and stroke are responsible for at least 25 percent of companies’ healthcare costs. By creating a wellness environment, your company can help lower healthcare costs and protect your most important resource — your employees. In fact, research shows that for every $1 invested in worksite wellness, companies can receive up to $3 in return.”

Detailed information on workplace wellness programs, including a guide for company leaders, a healthy workplace food and beverage toolkit, and tips on snacking smart in the workplace are available at the Heart Association’s web site, heart.org.

Another way that businesses can show their support for heart health — in this case, women’s heart health — is coming in February, 2016. National Wear Red Day serves to raise awareness regarding heart disease and stroke in women through fundraising and a host of online and social media initiatives, including photo sharing on Facebook and an app to make your profile picture go red. Regional sponsorships are available.

For additional information, visit facebook.com/AHA.GreaterBayArea or www.goredforwomen.org, or contact the American Heart Association at (510) 903-4050.


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