The 22 CEOs will lead by example, demonstrating healthy lifestyle habits in an effort to encourage the more than 2 million employees at their organizations to make healthier choices in their own lives.
There’s apparently a pretty sizable disconnect between American workers’ perception of their health and just how healthy they actually are.
We’re starting a movement to transform the culture of the workplace to meaningfully engage employees to take simple steps that can dramatically reduce their risk of heart-related death and illness.
This was a finding in a recent Nielsen survey [PDF] that revealed 74 percent of employees self-reported being in very good or good health, yet 42 percent of these same employees had been diagnosed with a chronic condition such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol.
This same study found, however, that employees who are encouraged by senior leaders to participate in a workplace health program are significantly more likely to report positive results, including lower blood pressure, healthier eating habits, and weight loss. More than half of the survey respondents also reported that it was important to see a CEO taking care of his or her own health.
Capitalizing on this finding, the American Heart Association announced last week a new CEO Roundtable, made up of 22 CEOs from some of America’s largest organizations, including AHA, who will work to promote and enhance their employees’ health.
“With the AHA CEO Roundtable, we’re starting a movement to transform the culture of the workplace to meaningfully engage employees to take simple steps that can dramatically reduce their risk of heart-related death and illness,” AHA CEO Nancy Brown said in a statement. “Together with some of the country’s most influential CEOs, we are working to tackle this issue head-on, share best practices, and identify cutting-edge, new programs to help get America heart-healthy.”
Participating CEOs will lead by example and focus on AHA’s common standard for employee health programs, “Life’s Simple 7”: getting active, controlling cholesterol levels, eating healthy, managing blood pressure, losing weight, reducing blood sugar, and quitting smoking.
“Our employees are what make our company great, and their health is an important part of our success,” said Terry Lundgren of Macy’s, Inc., one of the participating CEOs. “We know that, in the United States, at least 200,000 deaths from heart disease could be prevented each year through changes in health habits. We need to make it easier for our employees to make these changes—to make healthy choices and lead healthy lives.”