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Fitness classes cut employee use of prescription medicines

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The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association in Rockville, Md., has figured out a way to reduce its employees’ reliance on medication: fitness classes.

Since the nonprofit association for speech-language professionals began offering exercise classes to its 250 employees, fewer are using the health plan to pay for medicines for high blood pressure and other conditions that sometimes can be controlled with diet and exercise.

The association invites hospital techs to test employees—at work—for high blood pressure, low bone density and high cholesterol. Test results go to the employees rather than to anyone at the association, said Executive Director Arlene Pietranton.

Six-week classes include dance, yoga and cardio and strength training, which employees can take on-site during lunch for $35 to $60. In addition, Weight Watchers has offered meetings at the office for about five years.

Contact: Arlene Pietranton at (888) 498-6699.

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