A total of 102 companies and workplaces across Ireland have received a special award from the Irish Heart Foundation for their efforts to improve their employees’ heart health.
The 2019 Irish Heart Foundation Happy Heart Healthy Eating and Active at Work awards took place yesterday at the Gibson Hotel in Dublin and were presided over by Mr Tim Collins, CEO of the Irish Heart Foundation and Mr Karl Henry, health and fitness expert, broadcaster and author.
Heart disease and stroke are among Ireland’s leading causes of death however, 80 per cent of premature heart disease and stroke is preventable through a healthy lifestyle.
Most adults spend approximately 60 per cent of their waking hours at work, therefore workplaces can play a key part in promoting and offering healthier food choices and physical activity programmes.
” A great way to tackle heart disease and stroke is through workplace wellbeing initiatives such as healthier food promotion, provision in the workplace and sustainable physical activity programmes,”
Tim Collins, CEO , Irish Heart Foundation
The Irish Heart Foundation has been supporting healthy workplaces for over 20 years, and through the awards, recognises their efforts for prioritising employees’ heart health.
The Healthy Eating Award programme assists staff restaurants in adopting healthier cooking practices and providing healthier food choices with the aim of making the healthier choice the easier choice for employees.
There are three levels of achievement; gold, silver and bronze, which are aligned to the Irish Heart Foundation and Department of Health’s Healthy Eating Guidelines. This year, 80 companies with 70,767 employees received the Irish Heart Foundation’s Happy Heart Healthy Eating Award.
It is recommended that people get 30 minutes of moderate intensity activity at least 5 days of the week, but this does not cancel out the damage caused to our health by sitting for long periods of time.
The Active at Work Award aims to get more employees more active on a continuous basis, rather than just organising a once off activity event, and promotes a culture of physical activity and long-term sustainable programmes. This year, 22 companies with 15,592 employees received the Irish Heart Foundation’s Active at Work Award.
Tim Collins, CEO of the Irish Heart Foundation, said, “Today we are awarding 102 companies with Happy Heart Healthy Eating and Active@Work Awards. A great way to tackle heart disease and stroke is through workplace wellbeing initiatives such as healthier food promotion, provision in the workplace and sustainable physical activity programmes.”
“The Irish Heart Foundation is delighted to recognise each of these companies for creating a culture of health and wellbeing and positively influencing people’s cardiovascular health by providing a long-term sustainable programme that demonstrates commitment to the organisation’s most important asset, its employees.”
“This annual event is always uplifting and the HSE is delighted to support the Irish Heart Foundation in this great initiative that reaches out to so many work locations across the country,”
Sarah McCormack, National Healthy Ireland Lead, HSE
Speaking at the awards ceremony Sarah McCormack, HSE National Healthy Ireland Lead said, “This annual event is always uplifting and the HSE is delighted to support the Irish Heart Foundation in this great initiative that reaches out to so many work locations across the country. Of course, those here today are receiving recognition awards but there are many other work locations who are working towards achieving a bronze, silver or gold standard. The Healthy Ireland Framework is about creating a movement across the country to improve the health and wellbeing of the population. This focus on work locations is a key enabling factor as it not only reaches the employees, but their families, their friends and the many contacts that each employee connects with. On behalf of the HSE I congratulate every work location who have achieved this standard, who continue their work for health and wellbeing and of course a special thank you to the 27 HSE work locations on achieving these standards.”
Mr Niall Murtagh, Operations Manager in Treatment Services with Dublin Simon Community, who received a silver Happy Hearts Healthy Eating award has worked hard with his team to successfully implement a diet that prioritises heart health, by adopting healthier cooking practices and providing healthier food choices for a very vulnerable group.
Coupled with providing healthy nutritious food at mealtimes, the in-treatment service at Dublin Simon Community organises workshops on nutrition and cooking for residents so they can learn the importance of a heart healthy diet and acquire lifelong cooking skills.
The Irish Heart Foundation’s Happy Heart Healthy Eating and Active@Work Awards are supported by the HSE and Healthy Ireland.
You can read more about the Dublin Simon Community’s winning healthy eating project here