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The original item was published from 9/24/2015 4:37:00 PM to 9/28/2015 2:47:35 PM.

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Posted on: February 16, 2015

[ARCHIVED] For Third Year in a Row, City of Avondale Estates Named one of Atlanta’s Healthiest Employers

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City places fifth among small companies, ranking higher than any other local government

The Atlanta Business Chronicle once again spotlighted the City of Avondale Estates as a top-10 healthiest small employer in the metro area. The City placed fifth in the small company category (2 to 99 employees) of the February 12 Atlanta’s Healthiest Employers awards, ranking higher than any other local government.

The City climbed one spot from last year, and in 2013 tied for fourth in its category. But as event organizers and sponsors all stressed, placing anywhere on the list is a victory. Wellness programs such as the one Avondale Estates started in 2010 keep insurance costs low, energize the workforce and keep staff members healthier, sometimes even amounting to fewer sick days.

“This is the first time we’ve had a year-round Wellness Program, and our staff has been wearing their Fitbits, walking on their lunch breaks and jogging at home on their treadmills to make the program count,” City Manager Clai Brown said. “Fitness has become a favorite conversation topic around the office. We’ll use that enthusiasm to keep moving the program forward.”

The City extended its Wellness Program to take place year-round instead of just part of the year, thanks to a wellness grant from the Georgia Municipal Association. Since August 2014, the City has been working closely with DeKalb Medical to host twice-monthly health seminars covering topics such as exercise, blood pressure, diabetes, healthy eating and stress. City associates who choose to participate in the Wellness Program also receive a popular Fitbit Flex wristband for free, and use the electronic device to track their steps. A private community group on the Fitbit website, visible only to participating City staff, allows associates to measure their steps against coworkers’ steps, fostering plenty of fitness-related banter around the office.

Dr. Shealynn Buck, Executive Director of DeKalb Medical WorksWell and Medical Director of the Wellness Center, said the City has made strides during its inaugural year-round Wellness Program.

“Health and wellness is becoming part of the culture—it’s what the City of Avondale Estates does every day,” Dr. Buck said. “That in and of itself is huge progress.”

Plus, Fitbits and biometric screenings give City staff the means to easily track the program’s impact on their health. “By equipping associates with these tools, they can be empowered to take control of their health,” Dr. Buck said. “That’s key to sustainable lifestyle change.”

Dr. Buck also commended the City for being the highest-ranked local government, noting the potentially wider impact of that achievement. “The city government is a huge influencer in promoting health not just for its employees, but for the entire community,” she said.

Now in its fifth year, the Atlanta Business Chronicle’s Healthiest Employers awards highlight businesses and organizations that have been most successful in employee wellness. Metro Atlanta companies take a survey that gauges employee wellness efforts, and programs are measured in six categories including culture and leadership commitment, programming and interventions, communication and marketing, and reporting and analysis. Read the Chronicle's coverage of the 2015 event.

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