The New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute (NJHCQI) in partnership with the New Jersey Business and Industry Association (NJBIA) and New Jersey State Chamber of Commerce launched a new statewide effort aimed at Garden State employers called the "Workplace Wellness Campaign."

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The WWC has a very ambitious goal of having 1,000 employers representing 100,000 workers signed up by next summer and a goal of 10,000 Garden State employers and 1,000,000 workers in five years.

New Jersey employers are being asked to sign a simple "wellness pledge" in order to join the Workplace Wellness Campaign. The pledge states that the firm "pledges to promote wellness within our company." There is no cost to join.

We believe these goals are achievable," says David Knowlton, President and CEO of the New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute. "This new program is modeled after our highly successful Mayors Wellness Campaign which now has more than two-thirds of the state's municipalities engaged in fitness, nutrition and community health activities on a regular basis. In the Mayors Wellness Campaign, we made mayors 'champions' of community health. We hope to do the same for corporate leaders with the Workplace Wellness Campaign."

Knowlton's chief of staff, Allison Deblois says, "Maybe we can antagonize a competitive environment to see who can even be the most healthy workforce……You can be any kind of business to sign up."

New Jersey Health Commissioner O'Dowd says, "Improving the health and wellness of New Jerseyans is a priority for the Department and the Christie Administration. The workplace is an ideal place to promote fitness and nutrition. I am pleased to join forces with the Workplace Wellness Campaign. This initiative coincides with the Department's 'ShapingNJ' initiative to promote health where we work, live and play."

Former Governor Jim Florio is on board with the idea too. He says, "The fact of the matter is that wellness programs work. They save money and they increase worker productivity. This is a 'no-brainer' for corporate executives."

"Wellness is now an imperative for the business community," says Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Tom Bracken. "The opportunities are enormous. A recent study published just this month by the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans found that employers who actually measured their workplace wellness efforts showed a three to one return on their investment. Three to one."

NJBIA President Phil Kirschner explains, "Health care costs are having an enormous negative impact on New Jersey companies, both large and small. Anything we can do to lower these high costs is worth doing. Wellness programs offer hope for doing just that. What makes this program so great is that it will help small businesses that may not have the resources to implement wellness programs by themselves."

For more information and to sign up your company go to www.workplacewellnesscampaign.org