Silver Hill Hospital of New Canaan was recognized as a Healthy Workplace at an Employer Recognition Event hosted by The Business Council of Fairfield County.

Companies from Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Maine, Vermont and New Hampshire were eligible to be recognized for their Healthy Workplace.

The issue of health and wellness in the workplace continues to be of high priority for companies in the region, as they grapple with increasing health care costs. These 30 companies were chosen for their commitment to promoting healthy lifestyles and we hope by recognizing them, others will be encouraged to do so.

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The Business Council of Fairfield County hosted its third Healthy Workplace Employer Recognition Program Friday, Feb. 11, at the Holiday Inn, Downtown Stamford.

The 2011 Healthy Workplace Employer Recognition Program applauded the efforts of 30 area employers who understand the competitive advantage of a healthy workforce and who have implemented cutting edge programs to promote a healthy workplace and assist their employees to live healthier lives.

From these programs we have learned that promoting health in the workplace doesn't have to be complicated or expensive, and that organizations -- large and small -- can make healthy foods available, promote smoking cessation programs, walking programs and disseminate health related information from a wide array of sources.

There are three categories of distinction, Platinum, Gold and Silver, awarded on the basis of program components and outcomes.

Those recognized in the Platinum category include Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Big Y Foods, Inc., Cartus, Deloitte, IBM, Town of Mansfield; Nestlé Waters North America; People's United Bank; Pitney Bowes Inc.; Sikorsky; Stamford Hospital; Tauck; and Terex Corporation.

Those recognized in the Gold category include Ability Beyond Disability; American Heart Association; AmeriCares; R.C. Bigelow; University of Hartford; Mediacom Communications; Pawling Corporation; Purdue Pharma L.P.; Sacred Heart University and XL America.

Those recognized in the Silver category include Compass Furnished Apartments; Fairfield County Bank; 1-800-Flowers; Rockwood Service Corporation; Silver Hill Hospital; St. Vincent's Medical Center and Telephonics Corporation.

"Health is a business issue. As costs related to health and health care escalate business has responded in a variety of ways," Tanya Court, vice president of public policy at The Business Council of Fairfield County, said. "By recognizing the efforts of employers to promote healthy lifestyles, we hope to serve as a catalyst for other employers in both the private and public sector to take action."

Research demonstrates that employers realize increased productivity and reduced direct healthcare costs when they offer health and wellness programs to their employees.

"So often employers develop and implement excellent wellness programs for their employees yet the programs are underutilized due to limited communication and inconsistent reinforcement," John King, Vice President of client development at UnitedHealthcare, said. "UnitedHealthcare is pleased to sponsor The Business Council's Healthy Workplace Employer Recognition to acknowledge those employers who have recognized and communicated the value of their wellness programs to employees."