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Essentia Health, UMD recognized as ‘Fit Friendly’

The American Heart Association named Essentia Health a gold-level “Fit Friendly Company” for the third straight year.

The University of Minnesota Duluth was also recognized.

The nationwide program highlights companies that make health and wellness of their employees a priority.

Essentia and UMD joins major firms like 3M, AAA, Xerox and Yum! Brands as a gold-level recipients. Studies show “fit” companies have increased productivity, reduced absenteeism and lower health care costs.

“The Fit-Friendly program recognizes employers who champion the health of their employees and work to create a culture of physical activity and health in the workplace,” the American Heart Association says. “This is a huge accomplishment, which reflects your organization’s hard work and commitment to improving employees’ health.”

Within Essentia, employees have access to health assessments and wellness programs through HealthPartners. Essentia also highlights wellness in a weekly blog.

“We are proud of being named a Fit Friendly company for several years running,” said Kim Carlin, Essentia’s director of Total Rewards. “Our commitment to supporting the health and well-being of our employees is ongoing. There is not a start or end date. We are continuing to promote a true culture of health, and we still have more we can do.”

In the American Heart Association’s Midwest region, 329 work sites, employing more than 900,000 employees, were recognized.

“We are extremely honored and excited to be recognized by the American Heart Association’s My Heart. My Life initiative as a Gold Level Fit-Friendly Worksite,” said Rachel Gilbertson, UMD’s lifestyle health coach. “Physical activity and employee wellness are very important priorities here at UMD, and we encourage all of our employees to participate in practices that enhance their well-being at work and at home.”