APTA | Passenger Transport
November 3, 2008

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Fort Worth, Orange County Transit Agencies Are ‘Fit-Friendly’

The American Heart Association has recognized two U.S. public transportation agencies as part of its Start! Fit-Friendly Company effort. The Fort Worth Transportation Authority (The T) earned recognition at the Platinum Level of the program, while the Orange County Transportation Authority in Orange, CA, is participating at the Gold Level.
A total of 952 companies are demonstrating their commitment to promoting exercise and good nutrition in the workplace by participating in the program.
“Physical activity and employee wellness are important priorities at The T, and we are honored and excited to be recognized by the American Heart Association’s Start! Movement,” said Dick Ruddell, president and executive director of The T. “We’re committed to providing the best workplace environment possible. This will benefit our employees’ health and produce even more positive results for our company overall.”
 Platinum-level employers:
* Offer employees physical activity options in the workplace;
* Increase healthy eating options at the worksite;
* Promote a wellness culture in the workplace;
* Implement at least nine criteria outlined by the American Heart Association in the areas of physical activity, nutrition, and culture; and
* Demonstrate measurable outcomes related to workplace wellness.
In addition to fulfilling the above criteria, The T provides a full-time fitness coordinator and a fully equipped on-site fitness center with locker and shower facilities for only $10 per month for employees. The T also partially funds an on-site Weight Watchers program at the center.
OCTA’s agency-wide Wellness Program provides three fitness centers at its facilities, open to all employees. Staff have access to information about health and wellness, including instruction on proper stretching, physical activity, and weight management, and can participate in annual health risk assessments.
“Healthy employees are critical for the overall health and success of our agency,” said Art Leahy, chief executive officer of OCTA. “It’s vital that OCTA provides an environment that promotes wellness, and it’s an honor to be recognized by the American Heart Association for our efforts.”
The American Heart Association designed the Start! Fit-Friendly Companies Program as a catalyst for positive change in the American workforce, helping companies make their employees’ health and wellness a priority. American employers face increasing healthcare expenses and health-related losses in productivity that cost an estimated $225.8 billion a year.

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