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  • Healthier employees are proven to be more productive employees, and they have a direct impact on a company’s bottom line.

  • Certified Healthy helps businesses assess and strategically plan opportunities to provide a work environment that encourages healthier employees.

  • Certified Healthy Businesses are able to utilize their worksite wellness programs as a recruitment and retention strategy for top employees.

  • Investing in worksite wellness can enhance corporate image in the community, ensure interest with stakeholders, and gain customer recognition and loyalty. 

  • Certified Healthy Business recipients are invited to professional development opportunities to grow in their wellness efforts.

  • Certified Healthy Businesses were surveyed in 2016.  Respondents indicated what motivates them to become certified, as well as the impact and benefits of being involved in the program.

    Certified Healthy Businesses 2021 Map

For profit and nonprofit businesses, associations, restaurants and institutions are eligible to apply for the Certified Healthy Program. Businesses of all sizes are encouraged to apply to become a Certified Healthy Business. Whether your business employs one or more than 1,000, we hope you will apply. Businesses whose revenue primarily comes from alcohol, legally controlled and restricted drugs, substances, or certain chemicals used to make drugs, whose use and distribution are tightly controlled because of their abuse potential or risk, tobacco, and other consumable products derived from marijuana or infused with cannabis and containing the compound THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), or vapor product sales are not eligible to apply for certification per definitions smoking in public places and indoor workplaces act. Please note that the 2019 business application includes Governmental Agencies and School District Administrative Offices. Institutions of higher education including career technology centers also have the opportunity to apply to become a Certified Healthy Campus, and administrative offices of those institutions may apply to become a Certified Healthy Business. It would not be unusual for a single entity to be certified in both the business and campus categories. If a city administrative office within a municipality wishes to become a Certified Healthy Business, the city office may apply as one single entity. You also have the opportunity as a local municipality to complete an application to become a Certified Healthy Community. Businesses will be certified in the following categories based on size:

  • Small Business: 1 – 25 Employees

  • Medium Business: 26 – 100 Employees

  • Medium-Large Business: 101 – 500 Employees

  • Large Business: 501 – 999 Employees

  • Corporate Business: 1000+ Employees


  • Businesses must be at least Smokefree indoors in order to apply. A business must be Tobacco-Free and submit a copy of their tobacco-free policy in order to achieve Excellence. These restrictions against smoking and tobacco include marijuana and cannabis derived products.

Applicants indicate activities and policies that are currently offered by their business in each of nine scored criteria categories: (1) Organizational Supports; (2) Tobacco Control; (3) Nutrition; (4) Physical Activity; (5) Stress Management; (6) Mental Health; (7) Chronic Disease Prevention & Management; (8) Occupational Health & Safety; (9) Health Promotion. There are 122 total scored criteria. In addition, there are eleven possible N/A options on the application. If selected, these options will change the total number of points required for certification.

Businesses are scored according to size, and each criterion selected is worth a pre-determined number of points (based on the CDC ScoreCard). These points are designated next to each criterion on the application. Certification status is assigned according to the number of points selected divided by the total number of points possible. For Excellence, a business must meet the minimum required points and fulfill at least one criterion in each category.  As a reminder, a smokefree indoor policy is required for Basic, smokefree indoor and outdoor for Merit, and a tobacco-free policy, submitted with the application, is required for Excellence.

Business Size

  • Small (1-25 employees)
    • Basic: 30% (72/241)
    • Merit: 45% (108/241)
    • Excellence: 60% (145/241)
  • Medium (26-100 employees)
    • Basic: 40% (96/241)
    • Merit: 55% (133/241)
    • Excellence: 70% (169/241)
  • Medium-Large (101-500 employees)
    • Basic: 40% (96/241)
    • Merit: 55% (133/241) 
    • Excellence: 70% (169/241)
  • Large (501-999 employees)
    • Basic: 50% (121/241)
    • Merit: 65% (157/241)
    • Excellence: 80% (193/241)
  • Corporate (1000+ employees)
    • Basic: 50% (121/241)
    • Merit: 65% (157/241)
    • Excellence: 80% (193/241)

The Oklahoma State Department of Health Certified Healthy Team provides assistance and consultation regarding wellness to any Oklahoma business, health department, state or community agency, organization, association, or coalition. We can provide the following services:

  • Sample policies related to physical activity, nutrition, and tobacco
  • Resources on how to begin or enhance a wellness program, including the adoption of policies related to physical activity, nutrition, and tobacco
  • Content expertise and information regarding best practices
  • Information and technical assistance – trends, data, and best practices
  • Training, materials, and tool kits
  • Data related to physical activity, nutrition, and tobacco
  • Best practices being implemented and/or suggested by the State of Oklahoma
  • Information or technical assistance regarding the Certified Healthy process

Helpful Documents

What is Certified Healthy Business?

Certified Healthy Business was created in 2003 to recognize Oklahoma businesses that promote health and wellness for their employees. Promotion of health and wellness can be done in a variety of ways including passing policies that encourage healthy lifestyles and making facilities available for physical activities. Any business, regardless of size, may apply for Certified Healthy Business status. The program is administered by the Oklahoma State Department of Health Certified Healthy Oklahoma team.

Why Does Certified Healthy Matter? 

Currently, the major causes of death and disability in Oklahoma are due to chronic conditions such as heart disease, cancer, stroke, and Type 2 diabetes, and a significant proportion of these conditions are preventable. Becoming a Certified Healthy Business, indicates you are providing a healthy environment for employees, thereby supporting better choices and an overall healthier Oklahoma. By meeting most or all of the criteria to become Certified Healthy, businesses provide an established environment to foster behavior modification, in addition to policy adoption and implementation. In doing so, risk factors for diseases such as high blood pressure, smoking, and sedentary habits are decreased, which are factors that are more likely to cost employers via absenteeism, disability, lost productivity, and the use of healthcare services (University of Michigan 2000). Additionally, Certified Healthy Business encourages the implementation of policies, programs, and procedures that touch not only employees, but visitors and employees’ families, as well. By providing a business environment rooted in evidence-based health and wellness principles, you are contributing to Oklahoma’s future.

The State of Health in Oklahoma 

Oklahoma currently ranks 47 out of 50 on America’s Health Rankings¹. This is a decline from last year when Oklahoma was ranked 43¹. Out of all 50 states, this was the biggest decline in rankings from last year¹. The decline can be attributed primarily to an 11% increase in the obesity rate, and a 14% increase in the physical inactivity rate¹. Our poor health outcomes are hurting our families, finances, and future.

  • Premature deaths in the US overall have increased by 3% since last year from 7,214 to 7,432 years lost before age 75 per 100,000 population¹. This is due to increasing deaths due to drugs, increases in suicides, and an uptick in occupational fatalities. In Oklahoma, 9,992 years are lost before age 75 per 100,000 population¹. 

  • The leading cause of death in Oklahoma is heart disease, followed by cancer². In fact, more than 1 in 4 Oklahoma deaths in 2017 were due to heart disease². Cancer accounted for more than 1 in 5 Oklahoma deaths in 2017², and many cancer deaths are related to cigarette smoking³.

  • The third leading cause of death in Oklahoma is chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). In 2017, there were 3,035 deaths due to COPD in Oklahoma, accounting for 7.7% of deaths².  Cigarette smoking is the main cause of COPD and secondhand smoke contributes to the disease, as well4

  • In 2017, Oklahoma had the 8th highest diabetes prevalence in the nation at 12.7%5. Type II diabetes accounts for 90% to 95% of all diabetes cases and obese and overweight adults are at increased risk for Type II diabetes6. In 2017, approximately 85% of Oklahomans with diabetes were also overweight or obese7.

Chronic disease is often preventable, but Oklahomans’ health behaviors are contributing to the state’s chronic disease morbidity and mortality. It is especially worth noting that three behaviors (poor diet, physical inactivity, and tobacco use) contribute to four chronic diseases (heart disease and stroke, cancer, diabetes, and lung disease) that cause approximately 60% of all deaths in Oklahoma2.

In 2017, just 54% of Oklahomans ate fruit one or more times per day 7.   Also, 17% of adults ate vegetables less than once per day 7. In the same year, almost 71% of Oklahomans were either overweight or obese 7. In 2017, more than 1 in 4 adults reported that they did not participate in leisure time physical activity during the past month7. In 2017, 1 in 5 adults were current smokers7. Unhealthy eating, a sedentary lifestyle, and tobacco use are a recipe for chronic disease. However, we can work together to improve behaviors and the health of Oklahomans. The change starts with YOU!

During their time at work, adults have the opportunity to begin their journey toward a healthier lifestyle-including moving more, eating better, and being tobacco-free. The start of this journey provides a great opportunity to help people develop a lifelong culture of health. Likewise, visitors can also greatly benefit from healthy changes at worksites, including access to healthier onsite food, walking paths, and smoke free air.

Businesses that are Certified Healthy see a value and return on investment with decreased health costs, decreased absenteeism, increased productivity, and better morale among employees. In fact, wellness programs can save employers an average of $6 for every $1 spent, including $3.27 saved in medical costs and an additional $2.73 gained because of reduced absenteeism. By contributing to the wellness of those in your establishment, you are helping to create a better, brighter Oklahoma. Businesses that advocate for health are recognized as leaders in the community!


1. United Health Foundation – America’s Health Ranking 2017 Annual Report. Available at

2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – National Center for Health Statistics. Underlying Cause of Death 1999-2016 on CDC WONDER Online Database, released December, 2017. Data are from the Multiple Cause of Death Files, 1999-2016, as compiled from data provided by the 57 vital statistics jurisdictions through the Vital Statistics Cooperative Program. Available at

3. Lortet-Tieulent J, Goding Sauer A, Siegel RL, Miller KD, Islami F, Fedewa SA, Jacobs EJ, Jemal A. State-Level Cancer Mortality Attributable to Cigarette Smoking in the United States. JAMA Intern Med. 2016;176(12):1792-1798. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2016.6530

4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – Smoking and COPD. Available at 

5. Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH), Center for Health Statistics, Health Care Information, Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System 2016, on Oklahoma Statistics on Health Available for Everyone (OK2SHARE). Available at

6. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. National Diabetes Statistics Report, 2017. Available at

7. Robert Wood Johnson Foundation: How can wellness programs save employers money while making employees healthier and more productive? Available at

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