WELLESLEY, Mass., July 10, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- This month, Sun Life Financial U.S. (Sun Life) has solidified collaborations with YMCA of the USA (Y-USA) and the American Diabetes Association (Association), supporting programs that offer employers tools to help their employees live healthier lives. Sun Life has supported diabetes initiatives since 2012 and has provided more than $17 million in the U.S. and globally to programs focused on diabetes prevention.
Sun Life is the primary sponsor for the Association's Wellness Lives Here® Health Champion Designation, a program that focuses on workplace health and recognizes companies who have made commitments to fostering a healthier workforce through better nutritional and fitness offerings. Sun Life is also collaborating with Y-USA to support their Diabetes Prevention Program, which provides support to adults at high risk for developing type 2 diabetes as they learn and develop healthier lifestyle habits to delay or prevent the onset of the disease.
"As an employee benefits provider, Sun Life offers services and expertise to try and help employers keep their workforces healthy," said Dan Fishbein, M.D., President of Sun Life Financial U.S. "Partnering with organizations like Y-USA and the American Diabetes Association is a great way for us to continue that effort. Employers should invest in the health of their employees. It not only increases productivity and decreases incidences of absence and disability leave, but it also raises employee morale, and ultimately, provides an environment where people want to work."
The YMCA's Diabetes Prevention Program is an educational program that helps adults understand their risk factors and learn how to develop healthier lifestyle habits, with the goal of delaying or preventing the disease. The program's lifestyle lessons help people to increase physical activity, understand and make healthy food choices, and reduce their weight by 5 to 7 percent. The program is currently available in 47 states (at 1,700 sites), across the country, and with Sun Life's support Y-USA will be able to enhance efforts to enable employers to offer the program in the workplace, as well as nationally scale the program to more Ys across the U.S.
"The generous support from Sun Life is helping Ys all over the country become more effective in working with local employers to improve the health of their employees, prevent new cases of diabetes and extend the ability of the Y to achieve its charitable healthy living mission," said Jonathan Lever, EVP, Chief Membership & Programs Officer for Y-USA.
With the American Diabetes Association, Sun Life received its first Health Champion Designation in 2015 and has supported the program and its promotional efforts continuously since then. Health Champion Designees must demonstrate their efforts to help employees achieve better health and wellness in three areas: nutrition and weight management; physical activity; and organizational well-being. Within each area, organizations must meet specific healthy living criteria, such as enhanced nutritional options, organized physical activities, a smoke-free workplace, access to a fitness center (either on-site or reimbursement for off-site facilities), designated walking paths, and wellness services such as stress management and disease education.
"Staying active and eating healthy are vital steps to managing and preventing diabetes, and both can be directly impacted by the workplace environment and culture. The Health Champion Designation helps us recognize the companies and organizations that champion a culture of wellness in the workplace by engaging people in healthy lifestyle habits," said Alicia McAuliffe-Fogarty, Vice President of Lifestyle Management at the Association. "We thank Sun Life for their support of this program and for their commitment to health and wellness at work."
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 29.1 million people in the U.S. have diabetes, about 95 percent of whom have type 2. Education on nutrition and lifestyle are a key component to fighting the disease, particularly since many can be genetically predisposed, and therefore have a more difficult time avoiding the diagnosis. Diabetes and poor disease management can result in a host of even more serious health conditions, such as heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, blindness and amputation. Employers are in a unique position to play an important role in improving the health of their employees by engaging in these types of programs.
In addition to supporting these national programs, Sun Life offers the Team Up Against Diabetes grant program, which awards funds to organizations that support, educate on, and promote diabetes awareness. For more information on Sun Life's activities supporting diabetes, visit www.sunlife.com/usdiabetes.
About Sun Life Financial
Sun Life Financial is a leading international financial services organization providing a diverse range of insurance, wealth and asset management solutions to individuals and corporate Clients. Sun Life Financial has operations in a number of markets worldwide, including Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Japan, Indonesia, India, China, Australia, Singapore, Vietnam, Malaysia and Bermuda. As of March 31, 2017, Sun Life Financial had total assets under management of C$927 billion. For more information, please visit www.sunlife.com.
Sun Life Financial Inc. trades on the Toronto (TSX), New York (NYSE) and Philippine (PSE) stock exchanges under the ticker symbol SLF.
In the United States, Sun Life Financial is one of the largest group benefits providers, serving more than 60,000 employers in small, medium and large workplaces across the country. Sun Life's broad portfolio of products and services in the U.S. includes Disability and Absence Management, Life, Dental and Vision, Voluntary and Stop-Loss insurance. This includes the acquisition of the U.S. Employee Benefits business of Assurant, Inc., in Q1 2016. For more information, please visit www.sunlife.com/us.
Devon Portney Fernald
Sun Life Financial
SOURCE Sun Life Financial U.S.