fresh produceThe Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will work with employers in eight counties across the nation in a National Healthy Worksite Program -- a new initiative aimed at reducing chronic disease and building a healthier, more productive U.S. workforce.

CDC Director, Tom Frieden, M.D. M.P.H. said the program gives employers the tools they need to create effective programs. “Employers can increase productivity, cut health care costs and reduce the burden of heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes and other health problems in their workforce by making it easier for employees to be physically active, eat healthy foods, and not smoke.”

The eight participating communities are Buchanan County, Mo.; Harris County, Texas; Kern County, Calif.; Marion County, Ind.; Philadelphia County, Pa.; Pierce County, Wash.; Shelby County, Tenn.; and Somerset County, Maine. The communities were selected because of their high rates of chronic diseases and health risk behaviors such as smoking and physical inactivity. Another factor: the availability of local resources such as proximity to hospitals and existing community health promotion programs.

Employers in the eight communities volunteered to participate and were chosen based on interest and industry diversity. The initiative primarily focuses on small and mid-sized employers. Each business will receive intensive support and expertise in developing a combination of interventions. Employers can choose which strategies to implement that support physical activity, good nutrition, and tobacco-use cessation.

Examples include:

  • Nutrition counseling/education, worksite farmer’s markets, menu labels on healthy foods in vending machines and cafeterias, access to healthy foods in cafeterias and vending machines, and weight management counseling.
  • Tobacco-cessation counseling (including quit lines and health plans) and tobacco‐free campus policy.
  • Physical fitness/counseling, and walking clubs.

At the end of the program, a national evaluation will document best practices and models on how to successfully implement workplace health programs in small worksites more broadly.

The program is supported through the Affordable Care Act’s Prevention and Public Health Fund. All program and implementation support will be provided by Viridian Health Management, which was selected as an implementation partner through a competitive process.

A complete listing of the selected employers and more information about the program is located