; Blue Cross and Blue Shield Companies Host Eighth Annual National Walk@Lunch Day™
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Press Release

Blue Cross and Blue Shield Companies Host Eighth Annual National Walk@Lunch Day™

Tens of thousands nationwide will walk to better health

April 29, 2014

CHICAGO – Tomorrow, Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies across the country are hosting the eighth annual National Walk@Lunch Day™ for their employees and local communities. The lunchtime walking program was created by the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association (BCBSA) to encourage people to take steps toward better health.

As a fun way to highlight steppers across the country on National Walk@Lunch Day this year, BCBSA is encouraging participants to snap “selfies” and group photos of their walking lunch and post them to Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag #NWLD. BCBSA will then share these photos to celebrate all those who are keeping fit and taking in their local landmarks at the same time.

"As the weather warms up, this year’s National Walk@Lunch Day presents a great opportunity to get outside and start a healthy routine after the long winter so many Americans have endured,” said Scott P. Serota, BCBSA's president and CEO. "We’re excited that so many people are participating. It’s another way Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies nationwide are committed to encouraging our members to live healthier lives.”

Inactivity is one of the key factors contributing to the nation’s high rate of obesity and its related health effects. Nearly 35 percent of U.S. adults are obese, and obesity-related conditions including heart disease, stroke, Type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer are among the leading causes of preventable death. The estimated annual medical cost of obesity in the U.S. is $147 billion. Medical spending on an obese person is estimated to be $1,429 higher than it is for a person of normal weight, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Walking is one of the simplest, least expensive and most effective things individuals can do to improve their health. Just getting 30 minutes of moderate physical activity, such as a brisk walk, at least five times a week has significant benefits. Walking has been shown to lower the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, hypertension and Type 2 diabetes, improve the health of muscles, bones and joints and provide a psychological boost.

With this in mind, hundreds of companies, schools, community organizations and state and local governments are hosting or participating in National Walk@Lunch Day events. Below are examples of some of the activities taking place across the country:

  • Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas (BCBSKS) employees have organized lunchtime walking events in the downtown areas of Hutchinson, Salina, Topeka and Wichita. The company has invited elected officials and the public to join the one-mile walk starting at noon. The first 25 organizations outside of Hutchinson, Salina, Topeka and Wichita that register their walk information will receive free exercise towels, while additional organizations will receive free exercise stretch bands – complete with a tip sheet on how to use them.
  • Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska (BCBSNE) has encouraged groups and individuals to organize walks across the state by donating on their behalf to Special Olympics Nebraska and the Nebraska Game and Parks Foundation. BCBSNE will donate $20 for every organization (such as schools or business) that have signed up, and $1 for every individual, up to $10,000 total. Last year BCBSNE helped raise $8,000 for the Nebraska Game and Parks Foundation. The company expects more than 50,000 Nebraskans to take part this year.
  • Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama (BCBSAL) is hosting more than 4,000 people at Birmingham’s Linn Park to celebrate National Walk@Lunch Day. BCBSAL is working with employer groups and state and local officials to coordinate walks throughout the day. Birmingham Mayor William Bell will address the crowd to kick off the walk. In addition, BCBSAL’s National Walk@Lunch Day is going statewide this year through a new interactive website and social media outreach encouraging all Alabamians to take a brisk walk during lunch.

National Walk@Lunch Day is a component of Walking Works®, a Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association physical activity program designed to help Americans live healthier lives and reduce unnecessary medical costs due to inactivity. The Walking Works program was developed in partnership with the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports.

For more information about the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association please visit, www.bcbs.com.

Before beginning any new exercise regime, consult your doctor or healthcare provider.  For more information on National Walk@Lunch Day, please visit http://www.bcbs.com/why-bcbs/walkingworks/national-walklunch-day.html. You can connect with us at www.facebook.com/BCBSAssociation, follow us on Twitter @BCBSAssociation and join the conversation with #NWLD.

The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association is a national federation of 36 independent, community-based and locally-operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies that collectively provide healthcare coverage for more than 105 million members – one-in-three Americans.  For more information on the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association and its member companies, please visit bcbs.com. We encourage you to connect with us on Facebook, check out our videos on YouTube, follow us on Twitter and check out The BCBS Blog, for up-to-date information about BCBSA.