Baltimore health department offers firms a wellness designation

The Baltimore City Health Department has launched a new program aimed at encouraging local companies to provide healthier work environments by offering them a Workplace Wellness designation.

Company leaders can use a questionnaire adapted from a scorecard generated by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to help them identify priorities, or gaps, in their health promotion programs in nutrition, physical fitness and emotional health.

The questionnaire offers gold, silver and bronze labels to companies that participate. So far, companies receiving a gold label include the Baltimore Ravens, BGE, CareFirst, M&T Bank, T. Rowe Price and Under Armour. Transamerica has been labeled silver and Ayers Saint Gross and RSM have been labeled bronze.

City officials say healthier employees are not only happier but more productive and cost less in medical care.

"As healthcare costs continue to rise, it is more critical than ever that we work to meet the specific needs of an employee population and maximize the engagement and participation of workplace wellness programs," said Dr. Leana S. Wen, Baltimore City health commissioner. "Employee health is not just about medical costs; a healthy workforce is a more productive workforce, and work site health promotion is an investment in a business's most important assets: its employees and our city's residents."

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