Blue Shield of California announced today that it has earned three awards for the company's efforts to promote a healthier workplace.

The insurer, which counts 3.5 million members and 4,800 employees, was recognized as a “Start! Fit-Friendly Company” for the third straight year by the American Heart Association. Blue Shield achieved the highest tier of recognition—Platinum—for the second consecutive year.

The company also received the association's Worksite Fitness Innovation Award for piloting the use of walking workstations to promote physical activity at its customer service center in Lodi, Calif. A walking workstation incorporates technology into a treadmill with the integration of computer and phone. Bringing physical activity, literally, to the desktop is an example of how Blue Shield's wellness program, Wellvolution, strives to "meet employees where they are."

Blue Shield also earned the California Fit Business Award (Gold) from the California Task Force on Youth and Workplace Wellness (Wellness Task Force). The award acknowledges Blue Shield's effort to create a workplace environment that supports healthy choices. This is the first year Blue Shield has received the top honor—Gold-level status—and the second straight year the task force has recognized the company.

The American Heart Association recognizes platinum-level employers for offering employees physical activity and healthy eating options in the workplace; promoting a wellness culture; implementing at least nine criteria in the areas of physical activity, nutrition and culture; and demonstrating measurable outcomes related to workplace wellness. The Worksite Fitness Innovation Award acknowledges companies that lead the development and implementation of innovative and effective programs that promote physical activity in the workplace. The Wellness Task Force, which is dedicated to lowering obesity rates in the state's schools and workplaces, recognizes companies based on the breadth of their health and wellness programs; the quality and focus of their policies; the involvement of their leadership; and the impact of their endeavors.

"We have committed to defining a next-generation wellness model to keep our employees healthy and engaged," said Marianne Jackson, senior vice president for human resources at Blue Shield of California. "The innovative approach and holistic design to Wellvolution is paying off by helping our employees get moving, eat well, stay tobacco-free and maintain positive emotional wellbeing. We are honored and excited to be recognized by the American Heart Association and the California Task Force on Youth and Workplace Wellness for our efforts to provide the best workplace environment possible."

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