American Heart Association Applauds College for Promoting Physical Activity and Health in the Workplace

PHOTO: Tonya Addy (left) and Dr. William RichardsMIDDLETOWN, N.Y. – The American Heart Association has recognized SUNY Orange as a “Start! Fit-Friendly Company” for its ongoing promotion of physical activity and health in the workplace.

American Heart Association Executive Director Tonya Addy recently visited the Middletown campus to formally present SUNY Orange with a plaque signifying the College’s having achieved gold level status in the program. Dr. William Richards, SUNY Orange president, accepted on behalf of the College.

“We are so happy to have SUNY Orange on board as a Fit Friendly Company,” Addy explained. “With a wellness support system set up in the workplace, people are more likely to choose a healthier lifestyle.”

Start! Fit-Friendly Companies reach gold level status by implementing various activities and programs to encourage physical activity, nutrition and culture enhancements such as on-site walking routes, healthy food choices in cafeterias and vending machines, annual employee health risk assessments and online tracking tools.

SUNY Orange has a variety of wellness programs available for its employees, including a “Walk at Work” program. Yoga, spinning and other aerobic programs are offered as well, along with a diverse intramural athletic program that is open to students, faculty and staff at no charge. Employees may also sign up for supplemental programs and workshops that encourage efficient time management, explain healthy lifestyles and discuss stress reduction.

The Heart Association has released a policy statement in “Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association” that shows worksite wellness programs are proven to prevent the major modifiable risk factors for cardiovascular disease. These include smoking, overweight, obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes.

Nationally, the association recognized more than 1,200 companies in 2009– an all-time high. The American Heart Association also champions worksite wellness programs in its health care reform efforts, supporting an amendment that will be offered in a U.S. House Energy and Commerce bill to provide grants for qualified workplace wellness programs.

SUNY Orange also participates in the American Heart Association’s annual Start! Heart Walk and is a proud partner of the AHA. This past May, College’s Heart Walk teams raised $7,498 in support of the AHA.

» Back to Headlines

Mike Albright
Communications Officer
115 South Street
Middletown, NY 10940