Irish Heart Foundation CEO Tim Collins with KSG Catering at MSD Clonmel's Cillian Doherty at the awards ceremony in Dublin
The workplace was amongst 98 companies from around the country which were represented at the annual Irish Heart Foundation Happy Heart Healthy Eating and Active@Work Awards in the Gibson Hotel, Dublin.
A pioneer in the field of workplace health, the Irish Heart Foundation has been supporting healthy workplaces nationwide for over 20 years through its Healthy Eating Awards.
This year, Letterkenny General Hospital was awarded a silver Happy Heart Healthy Eating Award and the School of Tourism was awarded a bronze Happy Heart Healthy Eating Award. The awards assist staff restaurants in adopting healthier cooking practices and providing healthier food choices, ultimately making the healthier choice the easier choice for employees. There are three different levels of achievement – gold, silver and bronze – which are aligned to the Irish Heart Foundation and Department of Health’s Healthy Eating Guidelines. Implementation is overseen by the Irish Heart Foundation’s panel of registered dietitians.
Companies were also awarded the Irish Heart Foundation’s Active@Work Award in recognition of their efforts to increase employees physical activity levels at work. Fewer than one-third of Irish adults meet the minimum recommended physical activity level of 30 minutes of moderate activity five times a week and Irish adults are spending on average 7.3 hours every day sitting down.
Research shows that people who sit for prolonged periods are more than twice as likely to develop heart disease and stroke, even if individuals are regularly physically active, while one third of premature heart disease has been associated with poor diets alone. With one quarter of the food eaten by Irish adults prepared and cooked outside of the home, workplaces can play a key role in offering healthier food choices and providing an environment that supports their employees to move more throughout the day.
Presenting the awards, CEO of the Irish Heart Foundation Tim Collins Said: "As a society, we have come a long way in reducing the number of people dying due to heart disease and stroke. however, there are worrying signs that increasing levels of obesity, diabetes and low levels of physical activity could undo this progress.
“Workplaces represent an ideal setting in which to support people to make healthy changes to their diet and lifestyle and it is heartening to see so many companies across the country prioritise their employees heart health. Achieving these awards requires great commitment and today we recognise the significant effort each of these companies has put into creating healthy, positive working environments for their staff.”
Speaking at the event, , Healthy Ireland's Biddy O’ Neill said: “As workplace well-being gathers momentum, it is essential that employers embrace the concept by providing leadership and support for programme implementation including the Irish Heart Foundation’s workplace programme.”
The Irish Heart Foundation’s annual Happy Heart Healthy Eating and Active@Work Awards are supported by the HSE and Healthy Ireland.