April 14, 2010
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas Encourages Kansans to Step Out for National Walk @ Lunch Day® April 28
Walking events scheduled for Topeka, Wichita
Kansans across the state are being encouraged by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas to take the first steps towards better health by participating in National Walk @ Lunch Day® April 28. The state’s largest health insurer is encouraging businesses large and small to organize walks for their employees that day. Blue Cross employees in Topeka and Wichita are inviting fellow downtown employees and the public to join them at noon for organized walks in each of those communities.
“Our hope is that many Kansans will take 30 minutes April 28 to start a life-long habit,” said Marlou Wegener, Blue Cross manager of community relations. “National Walk @ Lunch Day is designed as an easy way for people to fit some exercise into their busy lives. The process is simple – just commit to taking a half hour walk at lunch. The more people who make walking a daily habit, the more we can improve the overall health of Kansans.”
Wegener said that walking briskly for 30 minutes several days a week can have significant health benefits, and could help lower the costs associated with treating illnesses and chronic diseases caused by inactive lifestyles.
“The many recognized health benefits of walking include lowering the risk of developing or dying from cardiovascular disease, hypertension or type 2 diabetes,” she said, “while at the same time improving the health of muscles, bones and joints.” She added that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimates that the cost to treat conditions caused by inactive lifestyles averages out to $1,000 for each American family.
In Topeka, the National Walk @ Lunch Day event begins at noon on the south side of the state capitol. After a short rally, participants will walk the perimeter of the statehouse grounds. The Wichita walk also begins at noon with participants gathering at the Kennedy Plaza at Century II for a one-mile walk along the river. Free event T-shirts will be available at both locations for the first 250 participants.
“Walking is one of the easiest ways to increase one’s physical activity,” Wegener said. “Blue Cross encourages all Kansans to consider taking a walk April 28, whether it is during lunch or another time of the day. Organizing a walk is a pretty simple way for an employer to encourage his or her employees to get moving – just designate a safe route, pick a starting time and invite employees to participate.”
Tools to promote National Walk @ Lunch Day, such as customizable flyers, posters and messages, are available on the company’s Web site at www.bcbsks.com. Wegener said Blue Cross would like to hear from businesses or groups which get involved so she can have an idea on the number of Kansans who participated. Simply send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last year, National Walk @ Lunch Day drew tens of thousands of participants in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. National Walk @ Lunch Day is a workplace walking program designed to fit into – not compete with – the busy, daily routine of Americans. It is a component of WalkingWorks®, a Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association physical activity program to help Americans live healthier lives and reduce unnecessary medical costs due to physical inactivity. The WalkingWorks program was developed in partnership with the Presidents Council on Physical Education and Sports.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. BCBSKS is the state's largest health insurer, serving all Kansas counties except Johnson and Wyandotte.
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