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      City earns third consecutive health award

      For the third consecutive year the city of Columbia has received the platinum-level award in the American Heart Associations Start! Fit-Friendly Companies program. / Sara Jane Harris

      COLUMBIA (WACH) - For the third consecutive year the city of Columbia has received the platinum-level award in the American Heart Associations Start! Fit-Friendly Companies program.

      We believe we TMve worked extremely hard not only to apply for the award but to receive the award, said Ray Borders Gray with Columbia TMs Parks and Recreation.

      According to Andrea Marks with the American Heart Association, Start! is a national program with the initiative to get Americans more exercise.

      We are just so proud to recognize the city of Columbia because they have gone above and beyond the call of duty to improve their employees health and wellness, said Marks.

      Marks said most adult Americans spend a majority of their waking hours at work in sedentary careers " which puts them at risk for medical problems such as obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes.

      Two years ago, Columbia received it TMs first platinum award due to the opening of the Charles R. Drew Wellness Center in downtown Columbia.Now it TMs become a key ingredient in keeping employees fit.

      According to Gray, city employees are eligible for payroll deductions for one-year memberships to the Drew Wellness Center.

      Gray also said the city offers incentive programs for those who participate in weight and fitness challenges during the year.

      Healthy employees tend to be more productive. Healthy employees also tend to be happier people. Happier people tend to be more productive people, said Gray.

      City officials say they plan to continue their health awareness programs and add on to them in the future.For a list of other "Fit-Friendly" companies in the Midlands, click here.

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