Norman Regional Health System recently received the 2008 Certificate of Excellence from the Oklahoma Certified Healthy Business Program.

President and Chief Executive Officer David Whitaker accepted the award during a luncheon at the governor's mansion.

"We are so proud to be recognized along with 26 other businesses from Cleveland County," Whitaker said. "This award is a wonderful way to acknowledge the businesses that are committed to the health and wellness of employees and their families."

The goal of the Healthy Business Program is to get employees healthy and to reduce the amount of insurance premiums. According to the Wellness Council of America, investing $1 per employee in wellness programs saves $3 in health care costs.

"In the eyes of our Health System, prevention is the best medicine not only for our employees but for the entire community," Whitaker said.

Norman Regional Health System will continue to help other area businesses along the road to wellness by offering its Healthy Business Academy again this year. The academy offers a two pronged strategy: practical employee wellness program training and certified healthy business application guidance.

"We encourage all businesses, regardless of size, to invest in their employee's health through wellness activities and to apply to become Certified Healthy Businesses," said Lindy Beswick, NRHS coordinator, community health and wellness. "According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 70 percent of all illnesses are due to lifestyle related causes such as obesity, physical inactivity and tobacco use. Almost one-fourth of all insurance costs are attributed to "high-risk" employees. Employees with conditions such as tobacco use, high blood pressure and obesity. According to America's Health Insurance Plans, employee's unhealthy lifestyle behaviors do negatively affect companies' bottom lines. Prevention is still the best medicine."

Businesses interested in receiving information and ideas on how to create or strengthen an existing employee wellness program can learn more about the academy by logging on to www.myhealthycommunity.com, applications for the next Academy will be available online this summer.

To learn more about what it takes to be a Certified Healthy Business visit the Turning Point Web site at www.OKTurningPoint.org.

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