TRENTON, N.J., Sept. 21, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- A new statewide effort aimed at Garden State employers called the "Workplace Wellness Campaign" (WWC - www.workplacewellnesscampaign.org) was launched today by the New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute (NJHCQI - www.njhcqi.org) in partnership with the New Jersey Business and Industry Association (NJBIA - www.njbia.org) and New Jersey State Chamber of Commerce (NJCC - www.njchamber.com) at a State House press conference. New Jersey Health Commissioner Mary E. O'Dowd and former Governor and Mrs. James J. Florio were on hand to lend their support to the new program. The Workplace Wellness Campaign is being supported with a grant from The Walmart Foundation.
"This new program is modeled after our highly successful Mayors Wellness Campaign (MWC - www.mayorswellnesscampaign.org) which now has more than two-thirds of the state's municipalities engaged in fitness, nutrition and community health activities on a regular basis," said David L. Knowlton, President and CEO of the New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute. "In the Mayors Wellness Campaign, we made mayors 'champions' of community health. We hope to do the same for corporate leaders with the Workplace Wellness Campaign."
New Jersey employers are being asked to sign a simple "wellness pledge" in order to join the Workplace Wellness Campaign. The pledge states that the firm "pledges to promote wellness within our company." There is no cost to join.
Knowlton said the WWC has sat an ambitious goal of having 1,000 employers representing 100,000 workers signed up by next summer and a goal of 10,000 Garden State employers and 1,000,000 workers in five years. "We believe these goals are achievable," he said.
New Jersey Health Commissioner O'Dowd said, "Improving the health and wellness of New Jerseyans is a priority for the Department and the Christie Administration. The workplace is an ideal place to promote fitness and nutrition. I am pleased to join forces with the Workplace Wellness Campaign. This initiative coincides with the Department's 'ShapingNJ' (www.state.nj.us/health/fhs/shapingnj) initiative to promote health where we work, live and play."
Governor Florio added, "The fact of the matter is that wellness programs work. They save money and they increase worker productivity. This is a 'no-brainer' for corporate executives."
NJBIA President Phil Kirschner explained, "Health care costs are having an enormous negative impact on New Jersey companies, both large and small. Anything we can do to lower these high costs is worth doing. Wellness programs offer hope for doing just that. What makes this program so great is that it will help small businesses that may not have the resources to implement wellness programs by themselves."
"Wellness is now an imperative for the business community," said New Jersey State Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Tom Bracken. "The opportunities are enormous. A recent study published just this month by the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans found that employers who actually measured their workplace wellness efforts showed a three to one return on their investment. Three to one. I do not know many in the business world who would turn away that kind of ROI."
Jennifer Hoehn, Senior Manager of Public Affairs, NJ, for Walmart Stores, Inc. added, "Walmart is committed to wellness not just for our own employees for whom we have implemented an employee wellness strategy for the better part of five years, but for everyone in the areas we serve. We are proud to support this new and worthwhile endeavor."
About the Workplace Wellness Campaign
The mission of the Workplace Wellness Campaign is to equip CEOs and other key business leaders with the tools to develop and implement active-living initiatives for their employees with the ultimate goal of improving health and reducing health care costs. According to a 2002 study by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, worksites and offices with a physical activity program reduced their health care costs by 20-50 percent, reduced short-term sick leave by six to 32 percent and increased productivity by two to 52 percent. We hope to achieve similar goals by engaging workplace leaders and providing them with evidence-based wellness programs and activities applicable to the corporate environment. Our program will also be applicable to many types of employers: small, medium, large, active, sedentary, outdoor and indoor office settings. Our website will contain best practices and evidence-based programs within the following domains: Fitness, Nutrition, Chronic Disease and Community. The objective for this program is for employers to facilitate the development of healthy behaviors for all employees within their organization.
About the New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute
The New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute is a non-profit foundation founded in 1997. Its purpose is to "undertake projects that will ensure that safety, quality, accountability and cost containment are all closely linked to the delivery of health care services in New Jersey." NJHCQI fosters collaboration amongst all stakeholders in the State's health care delivery system so that purchasers and health care consumers more fully realize the benefits of the linkage between quality, accountability and cost containment. The NJHCQI seeks to empower health care purchasers and consumers by publishing the results of objective research, comparative data on providers, and other pertinent educational information so that purchasers and consumers may adopt value-based purchasing practices and be able to make informed decisions on the merits of various health care programs, treatments and services. The NJHCQI was designated as the lead agency in New Jersey for the national Leapfrog Group effort in April 2002.
About the New Jersey Business & Industry Association
The New Jersey Business & Industry Association provides information, services and advocacy to its member companies in order to build a more prosperous New Jersey. NJBIA is the nation's largest statewide employer association. Its members, as a group, employ more than one million people. NJBIA was founded in 1910 by a group of manufacturers who wanted to share ideas about workplace safety and who wanted to have a say in government policies affecting their business. Today, the Association's 21,500 members represent every industry in the State, including contractors, manufacturers, retail and wholesale businesses, and service providers of every kind. Any private-sector business or employer located in New Jersey may join NJBIA.
About the New Jersey State Chamber of Commerce
One hundred years ago, New Jersey's leading businessmen – including Thomas Edison – petitioned for the establishment of a state chamber of commerce. They recognized the value and the importance of an organization dedicated to making widely known the "commercial, manufacturing, and residential advantages open to those who would locate their business in New Jersey." In the hundred years that have passed, the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce has grown into a leading and respected Garden State institution representing 500,000 employees and billions of dollars in annual revenue.
About Philanthropy at Walmart
Walmart and the Walmart Foundation are proud to support initiatives that are helping people live better around the globe. In May 2010, Walmart and its Foundation made a historic pledge of $2 billion through 2015 to fight hunger in the U.S. The Walmart Foundation also supports education, workforce development, environmental sustainability, and health and wellness initiatives. To learn more, visit www.walmartfoundation.org.
NJHCQI: Donald Sico 856.314.8066 email@example.com
NJDOH: Donna Leusner 609.984.7160 Donna.Leusner@doh.state.nj.us
NJBIA: Steve Wilson 609.393.7707, x245 firstname.lastname@example.org
NJCC: Ray Zardetto 609.989.7888 x116 Ray.Zardetto@njchamber.com
SOURCE New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute