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American Heart Association Names Alaska Airlines ’Fit Friendly’


Walking groups, healthy snacks in vending machines noted

The American Heart Association has named Alaska Airlines a Start! Fit Friendly Company for 2008. The award was presented Feb. 6 in honor of National Wear Red Day, a women’s health awareness event sponsored by the association.

Start! is the heart association’s national initiative to get Americans moving. Studies show that most adult Americans spend a majority of their waking hours at work — many in sedentary careers — increasing their risk for medical problems such as obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes.

“This is a great recognition of our goals to create a culture of health and physical activity in the workplace,” Health Benefits Specialist Brie Rydberg said.

In addition to having its name listed as a Fit Friendly Company in the Oct. 27, 2008, issue of Forbes magazine, Alaska Airlines will have access to special AHA programs to further promote wellness at work.

Some of the achievements noted in the award were: lunchtime walking groups that have formed at Corporate Headquarters and the Gold Coast Center (many locations also have fitness programs); healthy/smart option alternatives in vending machines, at the Gold Coast Diner and onboard Alaska jets; switching to Jones Soda on flights; and complimentary biometric screenings at annual Health & Wellness Fairs and at locations throughout the system.

Encouraging employees to live longer, healthier lives for their personal well-being is the goal of the company’s wellness program, according Kelley Dobbs, vice president of human resources – strategy, culture and inclusion. A side-benefit of this is that fit, healthy employees help lower healthcare costs and contribute to reduced absenteeism, lower turnover and increased productivity.

The heart association’s Fit-Friendly Companies Program recognized more than 900 businesses across the nation in 2008.


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