The American Heart Association (AHA) kicked-off National Walking Month by honoring the North Dakota Department of Health (NDDoH) with the 2016 Bronze level recognition as a result of the Workplace Health Achievement Index on April 3, 2017. A group of NDDoH staff, AHA advocates, community members, and elected officials attended the award ceremony in the Great Hall of the North Dakota State Capitol.
Melanie Carvell, AHA You’re the Cure Advocate, presented Mylynn Tufte, State Health Officer, with the Bronze Level Award. Mylynn Tufte stated, “As the Department of Health, we feel it is important that we set an example, and we are very proud of this recognition from the American Heart Association. A key strategy at NDDoH is to build a supportive culture that engages employees and helps improve health outcomes.”
The Workplace Health Achievement Index is unique in that it scores and recognizes companies both on structure of the workplace health program and employees heart health based on the AHA’s seven behaviors and metrics for ideal heart Health – Life’s Simple 7. Research shows that improving these seven factors can lead to significant reduction in heart disease and stroke. In addition, people who achieve ideal cardiovascular health by the age of 50 have significantly lower lifetime risk of heart disease and stroke and live, on average, 10 years longer than individuals with two or more risk factors.
This award ceremony preceded the Go! Bismarck-Mandan Walking Month Kickoff Event, where Governor Doug Burgum spoke about the importance of community health and walk-ability of communities. He highlighted the cost of healthcare and the need for people to have accessibility to safe places to enjoy physical activity and a community of health.
Following Governor Burgum’s address everyone enjoyed a walk around the Capitol grounds with North Dakota Supreme Court Chief Justice Gerald VandeWalle, Supreme Court Justice Jerod Tufte, and Governor Doug Burgum.