The CEO Pledge


 If there is a magic marketing scheme or program to induce greater levels of physical activity for all children and adolescents, it will likely be found in the same location as the fountain of youth.  More likely, we will increase physical activity levels through the convergence of several messages and signals about the importance of exercise.  Those messages may come from a variety of sources, including parents, siblings, friends, television, the internet, etc.

Activity habits begin at an early age, so the messages from parents can be critical.  Active parents = active kids.  But how to get busy working parents more active when they already feel strapped for time?

On September 13th, I had the opportunity to attend an event that holds great promise for increasing physical activity rates among employees and, in turn, changing the message that the children of employees are receiving from their parents about the importance of physical activity.

The CEO Pledge, a key component of the country’s first-ever National Physical Activity Plan, was launched at the HERO Forum in Phoenix, Arizona—the annual conference of the Health Enhancement Research Organization that draws a large audience of professionals committed to the improvement of employee health management. Chief Executive Officers who take the pledge will vow to improve employee health and wellness by producing opportunities and resources for physical activity before, during, or after the workday.

“The National Physical Activity Plan is inspiring action by leaders from multiple disciplines, creating an historic movement to increase physical activity among all Americans,” said Dave Pickering, a strategy leader for the Plan and CEO of Preventure. “Today, the CEOs of America’s businesses—both large and small—were asked to pledge their commitment to the betterment of their companies and employees, and to become part of the solution to our nation’s health care challenges.”

The text of the pledge reads:
For the betterment of my company, our employees, their families, and our country, I pledge to improve employee health and wellness by providing opportunities and resources for physical activity before, during or after the workday.

CEOs who take the pledge will be encouraged to share best practices to help create a national culture of physical activity supported by worksites.

Notably, the launch of the CEO Pledge occurred on the heels of research by Church et al. asserting that Americans are now far less active at the worksite than in previous decades.  Proponents of the Pledge are quick to point to the business benefits of a more physically active workforce. 

The CEO Pledge is also good for families.  We know that physically active moms and dads can have a heavy influence on the activity levels of their kids.  And we know that physically active kids can influence their parents, creating a wonderfully reinforcing environment for healthy lifestyles.

Do you know of a CEO that might be willing to sign the CEO Pledge?