New Data Shows Americans who Consistently Exercised Saw an 8% Reduction in the Impact of Chronic Conditions that Could Lead to Poorer Health

CHICAGO, April 29, 2020 -- New findings from the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBSA) found that regular exercise is key in slowing the growth of serious chronic health conditions like diabetes, a high-risk condition identified by the CDC that can lead to more serious outcomes from COVID-19. The study showed commercially-insured members who consistently exercised saw an 8% reduction in the impact of health conditions that could lower their overall health and reduced the prevalence of chronic conditions like hypertension and diabetes, underscoring the importance of continued exercise from the safety of one's home. The findings came from a new BCBSA report, "Benefits of Exercise," part of the Blue Cross Blue Shield, The Health of America Report® series.

"Regular exercise continues to play an important role in the overall health of all Americans and can prove extra helpful when managing chronic conditions," said Dr. Vincent Nelson, vice president of medical affairs for BCBSA. "With the current stay-at-home orders, Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies are working within their local communities to find new and creative ways to encourage at-home regular exercise activities needed to maintain and improve the mental and physical health of their members – and of all Americans." 

For over 90 years, Blue Cross and Blue Shield (BCBS) companies across the country have played a vital role in supporting the better health of the communities they serve through localized programs, initiatives and public funding efforts. To encourage at-home exercise during COVID-19, individual BCBS companies have adjusted current programs and introduced new initiatives into their local markets. Examples include:

  • Working with local governments to launch online programs and portals that provide social enrichment and fitness information to youth, seniors and other age groups 
  • Offering seniors and other individuals online tools and social connection opportunities that can be done safely online, allowing members to maintain connections with others in their community while promoting mental wellness 
  • Providing free fitness programs and exercise tutorials that members can use to safely exercise from their home 
  • Introducing a new informational webinar series aimed at providing health tips, at-home care guidance and expert advice for members who have underlying health conditions or a weakened immune system.

The report is based on data from the BCBS Health Index, a database of medical claims from more than 41 million commercially insured members of BCBS companies, from 2013 to 2017. This is the 30th study of the Blue Cross Blue Shield, The Health of America Report® series. For more information, visit

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About Blue Cross Blue Shield Association

The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association is a national federation of 35 independent, community-based and locally operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies that collectively provide health care coverage for one in three Americans. BCBSA provides health care insights through The Health of America Report series and the national BCBS Health Indexsm. For more information on BCBSA and its member companies, please visit We also encourage you to connect with us on Facebook, check out our videos on YouTube and follow us on Twitter.

The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association is an association of 35 independent, locally operated Blue Cross and/or Blue Shield companies.