Independence Blue Cross Launches First Annual National Walk @ Lunch Day in Philadelphia

Thousands of employees in the Greater Philadelphia region join Americans

across the 50 states to walk for their health

Apr 28, 2008, 01:00 ET from Independence Blue Cross

    PHILADELPHIA, April 28 /PRNewswire/ -- Independence Blue Cross (IBC)
 will host Philadelphia's first National Walk @ Lunch Day(SM) on Wednesday,
 April 30 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., encouraging Philadelphians to use their
 lunch break for walking, and demonstrating how easy it is to fit regular
 exercise into a busy lifestyle. IBC leads the charge to walk toward better
 health, as thousands of IBC associates and other Philadelphia workforce
 employees will walk around City Hall, joining tens of thousands across the
 country participating in this national event.
     National Walk @ Lunch Day, sponsored by the Blue Cross Blue Shield
 Association is designed to engage employers everywhere to host lunchtime
 walks and promote the health benefits of physical activity during the
 business day. Participants will walk around City Hall three times in order
 to complete a 1.5-mile walk -burning an average of 122 calories*. It is
 estimated that collectively, the walkers circling City Hall on April 30
 will burn nearly 500,000 total calories.
     "Our mission is to help our members stay well and strengthen the well-
 being of our community. Our event, National Walk @ Lunch Day, accomplishes
 both of these objectives," said Joseph A. Frick, president and CEO at
 Independence Blue Cross. "The real reward for well-informed, active
 consumers is better health and fewer medical problems down the road.
 Walking is one of the simplest and safest forms of physical exercise,
 resulting in stronger health overall."
     At noon, Mayor Michael Nutter will present a proclamation to IBC's
 president and CEO Joe Frick to commemorate this day as the City's inaugural
 participation in National Walk @ Lunch Day. Dick Vermeil, former coach for
 the Philadelphia Eagles, will share personal insight on how commitment to a
 fitness goal helped him to achieve desired results. Ben Franklin will also
 be on hand to talk about how Philadelphia, since its early days, has always
 been a city for walking. As part of the event, IBC's Wellness Van will be
 parked at City Hall to offer walkers and the public free health education,
 blood pressure checks, and body composition screenings on a first-come,
 first-served basis.
     "Philadelphia is a wonderfully walkable city - one that lends itself to
 perfect lunchtime exercise from any vantage point," said Mayor Michael
 Nutter. "I am proud that we have such stunning architecture, terrific
 shopping, spring-blooming parks, and sights rich with beautiful history
 throughout Philadelphia. You could walk every day for a year and never need
 to repeat the same route. I encourage you to use this event as a kick-off
 for a regular lunchtime walk and enjoy all that Philadelphia has to offer
 by foot.."
     "By making exercise part of a daily lunchtime routine, individuals can
 fit exercise into a very busy schedule," said Richard L. Snyder, M.D.,
 senior vice president of Health Services at IBC. "The cost of treating
 illness and chronic disease caused by inactive lifestyles is significant.
 Getting just 30 minutes of physical activity, such as a brisk walk, five
 times a week has substantial health benefits, such as lowering the risk of
 developing cardiovascular disease, hypertension and type 2 diabetes. It can
 also improve the health of muscles, bones and joints."
     In summing up the purpose of the event, Frick said, "We are proud to
 serve our customers and members every step of the way by offering programs
 like National Walk @ Lunch Day to assist them in reaching their goals to
 live healthier lives. We care about the wellness of our members because
 when people are healthy, everyone wins."
     Frick added that because good health is the focus of IBC's business,
 IBC offers many programs like this to help members stay motivated to
 maintain good health and wellness, and to help them become informed
 consumers of health care.
     IBC's Blue Crew volunteers will serve as the event staff for the walk.
 Blue Crew is made up of nearly 700 individuals who volunteer their time for
 dozens of events throughout the year. Blue Crew strengthens IBC's role as a
 business leader by involving all levels of associates in meaningful
 outreach programs that strengthen our community.
     *Based on a 154-pound person.
     Independence Blue Cross: Here for you every step of the way.
     Independence Blue Cross is the leading health insurer in Southeastern
 Pennsylvania, providing coverage to nearly 3.4 million people. For 70
 years, Independence Blue Cross and its affiliates have offered high-quality
 health care coverage tailored to meet the changing needs of members,
 employers, and health care professionals. Independence Blue Cross's HMO and
 PPO health care plans have consistently received the highest ratings from
 the National Committee for Quality Assurance. Independence Blue Cross is an
 independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, an
 association of independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans. For more
 information visit
     Members of the media are invited to participate as walkers as part of
 this first-ever event at City Hall.

SOURCE Independence Blue Cross