Freeman News

Freeman fitness initiatives reach platinum level

February 28, 2014

Freeman Health System has been recognized as a Platinum-Level Fit-Friendly Worksite by the American Heart Association because of its initiatives to help employees eat better and move more.

JOPLIN, Mo.—Freeman Health System has been recognized as a Platinum-Level Fit-Friendly Worksite by the American Heart Association because of its initiatives to help employees eat better and move more. To reach this distinction as a platinum-level employer, Freeman had to meet several criteria, including offering employees physical activity options in the workplace; increasing healthy eating options; promoting a wellness culture; implementing at least nine criteria outlined by the American Heart Association in the areas of physical activity, nutrition, and culture; and demonstrating measurable outcomes related to workplace wellness. 

In addition, the American Heart Association awarded Freeman its Community Innovation Award in recognition of Freeman Rehabilitation & Sports Center’s Train 2 Run and Train 2 Perform courses. Train 2 Run is a functional strength-training program that helps experienced runners learn smarter and more efficient ways to prepare for running. Train 2 Run teaches participants how to stay healthy and injury-free so they may run longer and with greater success. Train 2 Perform is available to junior high, high school, and female athletes. Female athletes are more likely than males to experience a knee injury because of differences in anatomy, hormone levels, knee alignment, muscle strength, and neuromuscular control. Train 2 Perform offers strength and conditioning programs, including testing to show measurable results, such as the Functional Movement Screen® and Y Balance Test™. 

“As the largest health system in this region, Freeman strives to lead by example when it comes to healthy living,” said Kris Drake, Freeman Wellness Coordinator. “We encourage our employees to exercise and eat properly and provide them with avenues and incentives to do so. It is an honor for those efforts to be recognized by the American Heart Association.” 

Freeman offers a number of initiatives to support healthy living, including early detection screenings for abdominal aortic aneurysm, peripheral arterial disease, osteoporosis, and stroke. The health system’s employee wellness program, Freeman WellBalance, provides employees with an online health risk appraisal and an annual health screening. Through this process, employees receive a wellness score and a guide to achieve a healthier way of life. The guide outlines the employee’s top health risks and what can be done to improve them. Additionally, Freeman brings fresh produce directly to its employees during farmers markets held at each of its campuses throughout the spring, summer, and fall. 

The Fit-Friendly Worksite program is a catalyst for positive change in the American workforce, helping worksites make their employees’ health and wellness a priority. American employers lose an estimated $225.8 billion annually because of healthcare expenses and health-related losses in productivity. Unfortunately, that number is rising. Many American adults spend most of their waking hours at sedentary jobs. This lack of regular physical activity raises their risk for medical problems such as obesity, high blood pressure, and diabetes. Employers face $12.7 billion in annual medical expenses due to obesity alone. The American Heart Association is working to change corporate cultures by motivating employees to start walking—the form of exercise with the lowest drop-out rate of any physical activity. 

For more information about the Fit-Friendly Worksite program and how it helps improve the health of Americans, visit 

About Freeman Health System
Locally owned and nationally recognized, Freeman Health System has earned a number of US News & World Report distinctions – Best Hospital in Southwest Missouri, #4 hospital in the state, and High Performing status in seven specialties. The health system includes Freeman Hospital West, Freeman Hospital East, Freeman Neosho Hospital, and Ozark Center – the area’s largest provider of behavioral health services – as well as two urgent care clinics, dozens of physician clinics and a variety of specialty services. A not-for-profit health system, Freeman provides cancer care, heart and vascular care, neurology and neurosurgery, orthopaedics, children’s services, and women’s services and has more than 300 physicians on staff. For more information, visit or or follow Freeman President and Chief Executive Officer Paula Baker at