PORTLAND, Ore., May 14 /PRNewswire/ -- Amid rising health care costs among American workers, more employers are taking action to motivate and reward their employees for adopting healthier lifestyles. On May 16, Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon will join them, as several of the company's executives lead employees on a lunchtime walk to celebrate National Employee Health & Fitness Day(TM). National Employee Health & Fitness Day(TM) is held on the third Wednesday in May each year. The National Association for Health & Fitness established this event in 1989 to promote the benefits of physical activity for individuals through work-site health promotion activities. National Employee Health & Fitness Day creates an opportunity for employers to engage their employees in physical activity that promotes a healthier workplace environment. As the largest health insurer in Oregon and a company that employs more than 2000 area residents, Regence is committed to setting an example of good health for its employees, members and the community and encouraging fitness among employees and rewarding them for taking charge of their health. Members of the public and the media are invited to put on their pedometers and join Regence executives as they lead employees on a one-mile walk around downtown Portland during lunchtime on May 16. Small steps such as this have already helped Regence impact the health of its own employees over the past several years. For example, the company has experienced an increase in sales from 28 percent in the first year to 41 percent in the second year of a new program that offers discounts for healthier food items at the company's onsite cafes. Since the introduction of this discount program, along with an incentivized wellness program and other wellness activities, each of the past three years' health care trends (based on claim cost increases) have been at least 20 percent lower than in 2002. "Our role as a health plan and large employer uniquely positions Regence to set an example of health and fitness for our employees and the community," said J. Bart McMullan, Jr., M.D., president of Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon. "We hope employers in our community will join us in honoring National Employee Health and Fitness day as the first step towards helping their own employees start down the road to good health." Members of the public and the media are invited to join Regence employees for any one of four walks that will take place in Portland, at 11:00 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 12:00 p.m. and 12:30 p.m. Walks will depart from the entrance to Club Blue at the 200 SW Market Street Building (Black Box). The entrance is located at the top of the 2nd Avenue stairs that lead through the walkway between the 100 and 200 Market Street buildings. About Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon provides medical, dental and related coverage for nearly one million members in Oregon and in Clark County, Washington. It's part of Regence, the largest health insurer in the northwest and intermountain states, collectively covering nearly three million people. Regence plans are independent licensees of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Nearly one in three Americans has health care coverage through Blue Plans. For more information, visit www.or.regence.com.
SOURCE Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon