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SCARBOROUGH, Maine -- The National Business Group on Health, the only nonprofit organization in the United States devoted exclusively to finding solutions to large employers' health care and related benefits issues, has recognized Hannaford Supermarkets here for its efforts to fight obesity and encourage its employees to lead healthier lives.
One of 33 employers honored at a "Leadership Summit" sponsored by the Washington-based group's Institute on the Costs and Health Effects of Obesity in June, Hannaford received a Gold Award for its Health and Wellness program, which features leadership and associate engagement, education, innovative technology, improved work environments, and innovative partnerships with the health care community.
Winners of the Best Employers for Healthy Lifestyles awards were honored in one of three categories: Platinum, for established programs with measurable outcomes; Gold, for creating cultural and environmental changes that support employees who have made a commitment to long-term behavior changes; and Silver, for those employers who have launched significant programs or services to promote living a healthier lifestyle.
The only other retailer recognized at the event was Target, which garnered a Silver Award.
Key elements of Hannaford's program include:
--Innovative health benefits, including a healthy behavior incentive.
--Company-wide wellness initiatives focused on achieving and maintaining the healthiest possible lifestyles.
--On-site wellness professionals (nurses, dietitians, and health educators) in its corporate office and in each of its 158 stores.
--Associates who act as wellness ambassadors by role modeling and cultivating a healthy work environment.
--A confidential employee assistance program.
--Care and disease management outreach.
--A health risk assessment, risk identification, and education with a behavior change orientation.
--A 'Centers of Excellence' identifier that lets associates know where they can receive the best care for complex surgery.
--Integrated disability management with an emphasis on quality medical care and EAP support.
--Consumer education, community support, and partnership with local communities to promote healthy living and healthy choices.
--Active participation in local, state, and national wellness and health care reform efforts, helping to pioneer new ways to improve health care quality and healthy lifestyles.
"Our strategy around health and wellness is an integrated one," said Karen Mank, v.p. of compensation and associate wellness. "Its objective is to improve the health of our associates, customers, and communities. To achieve our vision, we have made health and wellbeing an integral part of our culture and operations."
Added Business Group president Helen Darling, "Hannaford's leaders are visionaries and know how critical it is that they support their employees' efforts to choose healthier lifestyles."
Now in its second year, the Best Employers for Healthy Lifestyles Awards honor employers that recognize the urgent need to enhance their workers' health, productivity, and quality of life. The underlying goal of the awards program is to serve as a catalyst to encourage all employers to take action.
Delhaize-owned Hannaford Bros. Co. operates 158 supermarkets and food-and-drug combination stores in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, New York, and Massachusetts under the Hannaford Supermarket and Hannaford Supermarket and Pharmacy banners. Hannaford employs over 26,000 associates.