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IU recognized as a 'Fit-Friendly' workplace

Mar. 9, 2016

For the first time in its history, IU has received Fit-Friendly Gold Recognition from the American Heart Association, which recognizes workplaces that go above and beyond when it comes to employees’ health.

Healthy IU logo

“Indiana University is an incredible institution because of our  17,000 outstanding employees, and together we are creating an equally outstanding and healthy workplace,” said Patty Hollingsworth, director of Healthy IU, the university-wide workplace wellness program. “Receiving this award validates that the university is moving in the right direction. It’s also a charge to continue progress through evidence-based services and environmental changes.”

The Fit-Friendly Gold Recognition was given to IU based on the following criteria:

  • Being a tobacco-free workplace. IU has been a tobacco-free campus since 2008 and offers a number of smoking cessation programs.
  • Promoting walking paths and walking programs. IU has dozens of indoor and outdoor walking paths available to employees on each campus. Maps of both indoor and outdoor paths for each campus are available online.
  • Promoting microbreaks throughout the day to stretch, move, stand and/or walk. You can get some movement right at your desk with Healthy IU’s Feel-Good Workstation Movements.
  • Providing general nutrition education. Healthy IU offers free, one-on-one nutritional counseling for employees along with several educational programs regarding nutrition.
  • Healthier vending machine options. In fall 2014, Healthy IU began an initiative to provide healthier vending machine options for employees on all campuses.
  • Providing staff devoted to workplace wellness programming. Started in 2011, Healthy IU provides in-depth behavior change programs, challenges and environmental support. In fiscal year 2015, participation levels were at nearly 12,000 for Healthy IU offerings. For the current fiscal year, participation rates are on course to exceed that number.
  • Offering health risk assessments/screenings for employees. Full-time faculty and staff and their spouses/partners on the IU medical plan are eligible to receive an annual free health screening with a $100 incentive.
  • Collaborating with Environmental Health and Safety and campus security to offer CPR, first aid and/or the use of an automated external defibrillator. Online and classroom safety training sessions are available to staff, faculty and students, and AEDs are available on campuses.

In addition to the Fit-Friendly recognition, IU also received a Community Innovation Award from the American Heart Association for its Ready to Move program.

The program pairs upper-level or graduate students enrolled in an exercise leadership class with full-time staff and faculty who the students coach on how to move more throughout the day. The students gain valuable coaching experience while the staff and faculty gain important knowledge about physical activity.

”With Ready to Move, we believe we’ve harnessed what is so special about our IU community: employees and students helping each other grow, learn and achieve,” said Carol Kennedy-Armbruster, a professor in the IU School of Public Health-Bloomington who started the program.

Healthy IU continues to provide a number of programs and initiatives for faculty and staff. This spring, Healthy IU and Campus Wellness Coalitions will work together to develop specific action plans and future programming based on the 2015 results of the biennial Workplace Wellness Survey and the School of Medicine’s evaluation of the Feel Great IU 5% Weight Loss or Maintenance challenge.

An initial report from the 2015 Workplace Wellness Survey is available online. Read more about the wellness resources available to IU faculty and staff on Healthy IU’s website.

These initiatives align with several priorities in the university's Bicentennial Strategic Plan, including health and sciences research and education to improve the state and nation's health.

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