HSFC/CIHR Chair in Hypertension Prevention and Control

HSFC/CIHR Chair in Hypertension Prevention and Control

December 07, 2015 14:00 ET

4STARFood.ca : A New Year's Resolution for Canada's Workplaces

CALGARY, ALBERTA--(Marketwired - Dec. 7, 2015) -

Editor's Note: There is a photo associated wtih this release.

Of Canadians' top 10 new year's resolutions for 2015, half were related to healthy living and another was to "work harder", according to a Twitter analysis. A free tool kit launched recently at 4starfood.ca could help them do both at once in 2016.

The 4STAR Food Environment program was created by the Heart and Stroke Foundation / Canadian Institutes of Health Research Chair in Hypertension Prevention Control, Dr. Norm Campbell, whose mission is to align government and non-governmental organizations in appropriate action to prevent and control high blood pressure. "We have called on Canada's Federal, provincial, territorial and municipal governments to buy and sell healthy food in schools, prisons, hospitals, long-term care facilities, military bases and other institutions," explains Dr. Campbell. "The goal of 4starfood.ca is to provide both governments and the private sector with the tools they need to action the recommendations."

To help drive the uptake of 4STAR, Dr. Campbell has partnered with BestLifeRewarded, the first program to combine popular reward incentives with evidence-based health behaviour change modeling, and Excellence Canada, an independent, not-for-profit organization that has helped thousands of organizations in Canada, across many industries, to implement continual quality improvement systems and employee wellness strategies.

The S-T-A-R principles on which 4STAR is built - being Staff-led, Targeted and realistic, Accessible and Reinforced - are characteristic of the best practices promoted by Excellence Canada. "All of our Healthy Workplace milestones emphasize the importance of engaging staff in changes to the workplace environment," says Karen Jackson of Excellence Canada. "Programs like 4STAR that engage staff and executives, and emphasize communication and education throughout the process, help to ensure buy-in by directly addressing the needs of employees. That's how we maximize impact."

The opportunity to support healthy behaviour change at work is both tantalizing and elusive for companies and insurers, who are facing steep increases in the costs of treating diet-related chronic diseases like hypertension and diabetes. Known challenges include inconsistent definitions of healthy food, financial conflicts of interest with food providers, large portion sizes, and the fact that employee education alone has been proven ineffective.

Programs like 4STAR address these challenges by helping workplaces to make healthy choices the easy choices. "Healthy food procurement initiatives like 4STAR have been shown to positively impact healthy food purchases, increase healthy eating, and improve consumers' attitudes towards healthy foods and beverages," says Felicia Flowitt, Communications Director for Dr. Campbell and a driving force behind the program's creation. As part of a workplace wellness program, a healthy eating program can save businesses up to four dollars for every one dollar invested.

BestLifeRewarded, which recently celebrated its fifth anniversary, has already found that its success comes from staying focused on healthy behaviour change. "It's no secret that Canadians are struggling to maintain a healthy body weight, eat right, and get enough physical activity to promote health and prevent the early onset of chronic disease," says Susanne Cookson, the program's founder. "Our platform combines reward incentives with best practices modelling like 4STAR to create sustainable health behaviour change."

Canadians everywhere will be resolving to live healthier lives in 2016. Any employer committed to its bottom line should capitalize on this opportunity and help employees to be healthier, happier and more productive.

About Dr. Norm Campbell, C.M., MD, FRCPC

Dr. Campbell is a Professor of Medicine, Community Health Sciences and Physiology and Pharmacology at the University of Calgary and is a member of the Libin Cardiovascular Institute of Alberta. Dr Campbell holds the HSF/CIHR Chair in Hypertension Prevention and Control (2011-2016); is the immediate past president of the World Hypertension League (WHL); recently co-chaired the PAHO/WHO Technical Advisory Group on Cardiovascular Disease Prevention through Dietary Salt Reduction; and chairs the Canadian Hypertension Advisory Committee representing national health and scientific organizations to lead the non-governmental effort to prevent and control hypertension (2012-2014).

About Cookson James Loyalty and BestLifeRewarded

Founded in 2010 in Burlington, Ontario, Cookson James Loyalty has been recognized around the world for its health innovation and creation of its flagship program, BestLifeRewarded. BestLifeRewarded brings the benefits of recognized rewards programs with a focus on something much more important - one's health. The member-centric program is designed to reward the efforts of those who take action to improve their health and the managed software solution allows companies, clinics and hospitals to measure the impact of the overall program so that they can identify areas of improvement and can uncover areas that require additional attention and focus.

About Excellence Canada

Founded in 1992 by Industry Canada as the National Quality Institute, then rebranded in 2011, Excellence Canada is an independent, not-for-profit corporation that is dedicated to advancing performance in organizations of all sizes, sectors, and industries in Canada. Excellence Canada is also the custodian of the prestigious Canada Awards for Excellence program, of which the Patron is His Excellency, the Right Honourable David Johnston, C.C., C.M.M., C.O.M., C.D., Governor General of Canada. As national authority on Quality, Innovation, and Healthy Workplace® practices, Excellence Canada has created a uniquely Canadian model, providing measurable standards and objective validation through its certification and recognition programs.

For more information or to arrange an interview, contact the undersigned.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/hyprtensiontalk

To view the photo associated with this release, please visit the following link: http://www.marketwire.com/library/20151207-1035815.jpg

Contact Information