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S.C. BlueCross Issues National Walk @ Lunch Day Challenge to Employers

March 23, 2009

Columbia, S.C. -- BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina is challenging companies across the state to participate in the third annual National Walk @ Lunch Day® on Wednesday, April 29, when employers nationwide will encourage their employees to take part in a 30-minute lunchtime walk.

National Walk @ Lunch Day encourages workers to take time regularly during their lunch breaks to walk toward better health. Most Americans’ schedules are built around the workday, so lunchtime walks are designed to fit into – not compete with – workers’ schedules.

BlueCross is inviting the public to participate in any of three community walks it is sponsoring from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. on National Walk @ Lunch Day: at the Statehouse in Columbia, at Marion Square Park in Charleston, and at Falls Park in Greenville.

Those who cannot make it to one of those locations are encouraged to organize their own workplace walking event. South Carolina companies seeking information or promotional materials for planning a walk should call BlueCross’ Glenn Niemiec at 803-264-4612.

"We are asking companies to join BlueCross in holding lunchtime walks at or near the workplace," said David Pankau, president of S.C. BlueCross’ BlueCross BlueShield Division. "Americans are busy with work, family and community commitments, so lunchtime walks are a great way to fit exercise into a full schedule."

The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association created National Walk @ Lunch Day to encourage Americans to live healthier lives by incorporating walking into their daily activities. Last year, the event drew tens of thousands of participants in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.

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

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimates the cost to treat illness and chronic disease caused by inactive lifestyles is nearly $1,000 for every family in America, every year. Simply getting 30 minutes of moderate physical activity, such as a brisk walk, at least five times a week has significant health benefits, including lowering the risk of developing or dying from cardiovascular disease, hypertension and Type 2 diabetes, and improving the health of muscles, bones and joints. [Source: Physical Activity and Health, A Report of the Surgeon General, 1996.]

Headquartered in Columbia, S.C., BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina (www.SouthCarolinaBlues.com) is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. The only South Carolina-owned and operated health insurance carrier, BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina and its family of companies include more than 20 subsidiaries involved in health insurance services, U.S. DoD health program and Medicare contracts, and other insurance and employee benefits services.

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