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Tuesday
Feb032015

The CEO Pledge to Make America Healthier

Last October, Pat Laus, the founder and CEO of the Atlantic Club, in Manasquan, New Jersey, hosted a luncheon at the club to celebrate her signing of the CEO Pledge. She was joined by Peter Cancro, the founder and CEO of Jersey Mike’s Subs, also based in Manasquan, which has 1,300 franchised sub shops open or under development across the U.S.

“I’m excited to sign the CEO Pledge on behalf of The Atlantic Club,” Laus said ina press release. “It goes hand in hand with our corporate mission to expand wellness and extend life for people of all ages. I believe it’s important to support and promote this mission with (respect to) our own employees.”

Promoted by the National Coalition for Promoting Physical Activity (NCPPA), the pledge is a nationwide initiative designed to position physical activity as an integral part of employee health and corporate performance. The goal is to encourage every CEO or organization head in the country to create and maintain a work environment that encourages employees to exercise regularly and make healthy lifestyle choices.

That, in turn, in time, will lead to healthier communities and a healthier America.

The campaign targets executives for good reason. Studies of employee wellness programs consistently show that buy-in from an executive-level “champion” is critical to worker engagement. When staff believe that creating a healthier workplace has become an executive priority, they’re much more likely to participate.

The pledge reads:

“For the betterment of my company, our employees, their families, and our country, I pledge to improve employee health and wellness by providing opportunities and resources for physical activity before, during, or after the workday, and to enhance my own health and wellness by engaging in regular physical activity.”

More than 300 CEOs have already signed, including ones representing Mike’s Subs, Healthways, Johnson & Johnson, Wegman’s Food Markets, the American Heart Association, Trust for America’s Health—and a growing number of IHRSA clubs.

“I’m thrilled that IHRSA members, such as the Atlantic Club, are signing the pledge, and ‘walking the talk’ about the critical importance of healthy lifestyles,” says Joe Moore, the association’s president and CEO. “While clubs are inherently active workplaces, the pledge affirms their mission. Ideally, I’d like every single IHRSA member to sign it.”

Among the many industry signatories are Bill McBride and Robin Klaus, of Active Sports, LLC, based in San Francisco; Joe Cirulli, of Gainesville Health & Fitness, in Gainesville, Florida; Susan Liebenow, of L&T Health and Fitness, in Falls Church, Virginia; Chris Ciatto, of Plus One Health Management, in New York City; and David von Storch, of VIDA Fitness, in Washington, D.C.

All pledge takers have agreed to take demonstrable steps to foster a strong culture of physical activity in their workplaces. Representative activities include standing or walking meetings, friendly competitions involving physical activity, and educational events focusing on physical activity-related topics.

The pledge provides clubs with an opportunity to lead by example and position themselves as good corporate citizens—a particularly important stance for those targeting the corporate market.

Signing the CEO Pledge is both easy and free.

Simply visit ihrsa.org/ceo-pledge and download the CEO Pledge Toolkit, which includes the text of the pledge and recommended workplace strategies. Once you’ve reviewed these materials, and have decided that your club can make the commitment, you can enroll online at ncppa.org/sign-pledge. When you’ve done so, NCPPA will mail you a color copy of the pledge for you to sign.

“The health and fitness industry has a responsibility to make physical activity a top priority in America,” counsels Moore. “If not now, when? And if we don’t do it, who will? Be among those willing to stand up now for physical activity and America’s health by signing the CEO Pledge.”

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