Aramark Healthy For Life™ Collaboration Earns Valley Health System Gold Apple Award

Sep 18, 2014 10:00 AM ET

consumer outreach & education - in practice

At Valley Health System in the Virginias, there is a strong focus on helping the employee population get healthy. More frequently, employees are seeking information about fighting obesity and other nutrition-related health issues and programs to improve employee health are a must.

The System’s well-established employee wellness program, “Healthy U”, includes discounts for on-site fitness center membership, weight loss and smoking cessation programs and incentives to reward healthy behaviors.  To complement Healthy U, a strong nutrition component was needed, and Aramark’s Healthy For Life™ nutrition and wellness approach fit the bill. 

Healthy for Life™ is Aramark’s comprehensive and integrated approach to health and wellness that features healthy food choices, nutrition education, and wellness programs that work together to support healthier lifestyles. 

The combination of Healthy U and Healthy For Life™ has been so successful that it earned Valley Health’s Winchester site the prestigious Gold Apple Award from the Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association and Prevention Partners for providing and promoting healthy, affordable and delicious food and beverage options for employees.

“The Gold Apple Award represents the highest standard of nutrition excellence at the workplace,” said Kristen King, Aramark General Manager for Valley Health.

In order to receive the Gold Apple Award, a hospital must provide access to healthy options that are based on sound nutrition criteria, price healthy options competitively to motivate purchases, market healthy food and beverages with icons or other easy-to-read labels, and provide benefits such as nutrition counseling and education to support employees in their health improvement efforts.

The Winchester site provides these elements though a variety of Healthy For Life™ programs.  For example, sushi has been introduced to the food selections, and cafeterias host Cooking Light stations, where employees can purchase innovative and healthy versions of popular items. A wide variety of whole grain foods, vegetarian options, and lower sodium and lower calorie meals are available.

Employees are also encouraged to use the many Healthy For Life™ education and awareness tools, such as newsletters and fact sheets, plus the My Fitness Pal app that helps people track their nutrition and fitness. Registered Dietitians at the site conduct community wellness events and join in health fairs, King added. Her goal is to implement Healthy For Life™ at all six healthcare facilities that comprise Valley Health System.

“We want to be recognized with the Gold Apple for the entire system,” she said.

“Making it easier for employees to be healthy at work is a key part of any long-term strategy to achieve a healthier workforce and lower health care costs," said Laurens Sartoris, recently retired President of the Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association.. We recognize Aramark’s role in achieving this success. The commitment of Aramark to provide an environment that helps employees lead healthier lives is evident.”