COSHOCTON -- Coshocton Hospital is pleased to be at the top of the American Heart Association's list of 2009 Fit-Friendly companies. They are the only company in Coshocton County and one of three in the region to earn this honor.

The American Heart Association's Start! Fit-Friendly Companies Recognition program calls for employers to encourage workplace wellness and create a work environment conducive to physical activity, specifically walking. Many adult Americans spend most of their waking hours at work, and many are in sedentary careers, thus raising their risk for a host of medical problems such as obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes. Employers face ever-increasing healthcare costs such as $12.7 billion in annual medical expenses due to obesity alone.

Employees often have difficulty finding time to take care of their health. Start! provides a solution by encouraging them to start walking. Walking has the lowest dropout rate of any physical activity because it's free and easy to do.

Coshocton Hospital's participation in the program included: Participation in the Healthy Ohio Fitness Walk program in May; providing Nutrition and Weight Management education programs; incorporating signage to encourage uses of stairs rather than elevators; and featuring wellness articles in employee newsletters.

The Start! Fit-Friendly Companies Program offers participants free access to program resources, such as materials to promote wellness programs to employees, internal newsletter templates and consultation on CPR/AED programs.

Coshocton Hospital is a non-profit organization located at 1460 Orange St., Coshocton.

Currently the largest employer in Coshocton County, Coshocton hospital is celebrating 100 years of service to the community in 2009.