The National Business Group on Health honored 48 U.S. employers for their ongoing commitment to promoting healthy work environments and encouraging workers to live healthier lifestyles.

Forty-eight employers won 2011 Best Employers for Healthy Lifestyles awards at the Institute on Innovation in Workforce Well-being Leadership Summit held in Washington, D.C. yesterday.

The awards annually acknowledge companies that have responded to the need to improve their workers' health, productivity and quality of life. The goal of the program is to encourage all employers to take action for a healthy workforce.

Helen Darling, president and CEO of the National Business Group on Health, said, “Employer interest in creating healthy workplaces and a healthy workforce is at an all-time high, as controlling health care costs remains a top priority. Employers have learned that it will be very hard, if not impossible, to control cots if employees and family members have unhealthy lifestyles and related serious health conditions. The 48 employers we are recognizing this year have consistently demonstrated a commitment to providing innovative workplace health improvement programs that encourage healthier lifestyles for employees and their families.”

LuAnn Heinen, vice president of the National Business Group on Health, who has overseen the awards program since its start in 2005, said, “This year more than ever, employers are taking their wellness and health management programs to new levels. Employers are no longer just putting in wellness programs for the sake of having one, but instead are actively taking steps to promote these programs with the goal of having their workers fully engaged. The innovation and commitment that employers are demonstrating indicates just how serious they are about building a healthier work environment and a healthier workforce.”

The employers were honored in one of two categories: platinum (for established programs with measurable success and documented outcomes) and gold (for creating cultural and environmental changes that support employees who are committed to long-term behavior changes).

The National Business Group on Health also recognized American Express and Intel Corp. with Global Distinction awards. This is the first time the Business Group has recognized companies that are developing and improving approaches to affect the physical, psychological and emotional health, well-being and productivity of global employees and their dependents. The Global Distinction designation does not honor a specific wellness initiative, but rather acknowledges corporate efforts on various fronts that address a number of health challenges, from effective health communication efforts to specific covered benefits.

Darling notes, “Wellness programs and health promotion are accepted approaches for improving the physical, mental and emotional health of U.S.-based employees. Although global wellness is a relatively new and quickly maturing focus area, both American Express and Intel Corp. have already made great strides toward positively impacting the health and lives of their worldwide employees.”

To see the full list of award winners, click here.

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