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Two Jefferson County businesses recognized by American Heart Association

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At least two businesses in Jefferson County have received the American Heart Association’s praise for focusing on heart health.

Jefferson Community College and Stebbins Engineering & Manufacturing Co. have been designated gold-level “Fit-Friendly Worksites in 2012.”

Kristy Smorol, communications director, said the organizations were the only ones in the county to receive such status for promoting health and wellness to their employees.

According to a news release issued Monday by the association, more than 400 north country residents may be positively affected by this designation. The gold status is achieved when an employer implements programs and activities 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.

The American Heart Association announced the program locally earlier this year, in hopes that businesses and organizations would educate employees about heart disease and stroke.

A Fit-Friendly Worksite status means corporate culture changes to motivate employees to start walking, according to the association. In the release, the association said the lack of regular physical activity raises employees’ risk for medical problems, such as obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes.

Ms. Smorol said thus far, no Jefferson County businesses have achieved the platinum level, and no work site or community innovation statuses have been awarded. Businesses, organizations, and communities must apply to receive such a status.

More information can be found on the Fit-Friendly Worksite website at www.startwalkingnow.org.

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