HARRISBURG, Pa. and DENVER, Colo., May 3, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- HealthAmerica and CafeWell™ today announced that participants in the Race to the Moon wellness challenge, sponsored by HealthAmerica, recently passed their target of walking the distance to the moon. At April 30, participants had walked more than 685 million steps, which equates to 302,000 miles. Based on the program's success,a new challenge program was announced today, Return to Earth*, which features new fitness challenges as participants log steps for chances to win prizes, and allows in additional members.
At a celebratory event today in Harrisburg, HealthAmerica chief executive officer, David Fields, recognized the many people with individual stories of success in the Race to the Moon, including 153 participants who each surpassed one million steps, 19 participants who exceeded two million steps, four participants who exceeded three million steps, and one participant who surpassed four million steps.
"The entire HealthAmerica family congratulates the more than 6,500 active participants who took advantage of the Race to the Moon wellness challenge to change their health and fitness," said Fields. "The results we have demonstrated with this new type of socially enabled wellness program are getting people's attention across the healthcare industry, and we are proud to have led the way."
For example, 68% of participants reported walking or running more every week, 36% have become more health conscious about their diet and 29% have lost weight.
While logging steps, members participated in 32 different challenges on the CafeWell social health network, which served as Race to the Moon's central 'Mission Control'. The top five discussion groups used by participants include Race to the Moon, Fitness and Exercise, Diet and Nutrition, Weight Loss, and Stress Management.
Nearly half, 48%, of Race to the Moon participants were over the age of 45 and only 24% were under 35. The age weighting underscores the positive health impact Race to the Moon participants reported.
Participant comments, all available here, reported many instances of weight loss, energy gain and reversal or improvement in chronic conditions such as high blood pressure, cholesterol and arthritis. Photos from the event are available here after today's event.
"Race to the Moon was simply life changing," said Rick Sanger, a two million-step achiever from Mechanicsburg, Pa. "Who would have ever guessed in six months I would have walked two and a half million steps? Not me! I was a self-made couch potato. I liked to exercise, but I could never find something I could stick with. This is like Facebook meets Biggest Loser! I have made so many friends, lost weight, have badges to brag and show as accomplishments and stories of how our team stuck together and pushed each other way past what we thought we could ever do as individuals! Amazing experience, I cherish the time I spend in CafeWell and Race to the Moon."
"I'm happy to say that I've lost 12 pounds and the warm spring weather will help me keep going," noted Pam Zemaitis, a one-million step achiever from New Cumberland. "One thing that I've noticed the most is that last year at this time, I went on a field trip to Philadelphia with my son's 6th grade class. My knees hurt so bad that I couldn't keep up very easily with the tour guide. This year I'm going with my daughter's 6th grade class and even though my knees are still a little sore, it is nothing like last year so I'm looking forward to being in the front of the group! I didn't do anything to help my knees either...except for walking!"
Michelle Hawkins, a participant from Lancaster, added, "The Race to the Moon has motivated me to get outside more, as well as to make a decision to hike Mt. Washington in New Hampshire. My dad has done the hike many years in the past and this will be our first year to do it together. I have been extremely motivated to go train with my dad by hiking every weekend."
"I started slowly, 20 to 30 thousand steps," said Bob Scott of Harrisburg. "As I got caught up in the challenges, I added more and more, and started to finish in the top five. Exercise became more often and more vigorous. I looked forward to it and am exercising much more regularly now. I have increased my endurance and lost 15 pounds."
"I define my success in Race to the Moon as getting much more exercise," said Cheryl Walker of Middletown. "I have walked over 1,000 miles for a weight loss of 19 pounds, so far."
Pam Smith of York added, "My success is measured by meeting the weekly goals, to schedule specific times into my day to walk. I take each day as it comes. Some days are busier than others and I can spend more or less time each day with the weekly goal as the target. I have become more competitive because of the ranking within the challenge and wanting to get more badges for points. Winning an Amazon gift card was the icing on the cake! Sharing this experience with others has also been reaffirming for me to continue. Friends tell me how great it is that I have accomplished what I have. When I started, it was difficult to walk 4 blocks."
About Race to the Moon and Return To Earth
Race to the Moon, launched in September 2011, created a new, statewide wellness program for HealthAmerica members to promote fitness and better health. Through accumulated participant miles, the goal was to collectively walk the 238,857-mile distance to the moon. Race to the Moon offered its participants free pedometers, numerous chances to win prizes, and fun activities, such as challenges with co-workers, family members or other Race participants.
Race to the Moon was open to 150,000 small group and individual HealthAmerica members across Pennsylvania, with primary concentrations in south central Pennsylvania, Erie and Pittsburgh areas. It was also open to HealthAmerica members residing in Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Ohio and West Virginia.
Participants joined Race to the Moon and tracked their progress through HealthAmerica's social health network partner, CafeWell. To make Race to the Moon easy and fun, participants received free wireless pedometers that synchronized automatically through their home computers and logged their steps achieved through everyday activity and exercise.
Along the way, participants had many opportunities to win prizes including Entertainment Book® coupons, Amazon.com Gift Cards**, HDTVs with activity game systems, and one of two grand prize trips for two with outdoor adventures in Hawaii.
In CafeWell, members participated in health challenges with family and co-workers, got advice from Olympic athletes, shared experiences and ideas with other participants and tracked their progress in the Race to the Moon. The program ran through March 2012.
Return to Earth, a new program to follow Race to the Moon, began on May 1, 2012. Weekly step challenges give participants opportunities to earn badges and entries into monthly drawings for Amazon.com Gift Cards**.
With nearly 40 years of providing health care benefits, HealthAmerica has earned a reputation as one of the most trusted and experienced health insurers in Pennsylvania. The company ranks among the highest rated health plans in the nation for HMO and POS plans by the National Committee for Quality Assurance.* Its Medicare plan, HealthAmerica Advantra, ranks 24 out of 341 Medicare plans evaluated nationwide, ranking second in the state and among the top 25 health plans in the nation.***
HealthAmerica provides a range of traditional and consumer-directed health insurance products, including self-funded, Medicare, Medicaid, indemnity, nongroup, and pharmacy plans. It currently has "Excellent" accreditation by the National Committee for Quality Assurance for its commercial HMO, POS, and Medicare plans. HealthAmerica's corporate offices are in Harrisburg, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. For more information, visit HealthAmerica's website at www.healthamerica.cvty.com.
About CafeWell™ and WellTok®, Inc.
CafeWell is a social health network that makes getting better connected to your health and fitness more fun and more rewarding. CafeWell provides one stop for consumers' health, wellness and fitness -- including social networking; advice from experts, peers and veteran professional athletes; fun health challenges with other users; and reliable health and fitness information. Through CafeWell, population manager sponsors can offer rewards and incentives to promote activity and health improvement. Users control the degree to which their identity is shared, with complete anonymity as the default. To learn more about CafeWell, visit www.cafewell.com.
For healthcare population managers, leveraging new consumer communications channels, building brand affinity, engaging consumers with their health, and increasing healthy behaviors are critical objectives, especially as reform accelerates the growth of the retail health insurance market. WellTok is pioneering Social Health Management™ (SMH), the complete consumer engagement solution for healthcare population managers, such as health plans, hospital systems, accountable care organizations and large practice groups. WellTok's SHM suite provides a complete solution, including the industry's most engaging social health network, CafeWell®, actionable member and group analytics, and integration with healthcare payers and providers' enterprise systems and Quality Improvement-qualified MLR expenses. WellTok, Inc. is headquartered in Denver, Colo. http://www.welltok.com
For HealthAmerica and Race to the Moon
For CafeWell and Race to the Moon
*No purchase necessary. Promotion starts 5/1/12 and ends 12/31/12. Open only to legal residents of DE, MD, NJ and PA who are over eighteen (18) years of age and a member of a HealthAmerica medical plan as an individual, or part of a small or mid-market group policy. Void where prohibited. Subject to full Official Rules at rewards.cafewell.com/moonrace/rules. Sponsor: WellTok, Inc., 1530 15th Street, Denver, Colorado 80202.
**Amazon.com is not a sponsor of this promotion. Except as required by law, GCs cannot be transferred for value or redeemed for cash. GCs may be used only for purchases of eligible goods on Amazon.com or certain of its affiliated websites. For complete terms and conditions, see www.amazon.com/gc-legal. GCs are issued and ©2011 by ACI Gift Cards, Inc., a Washington corporation. ©,®,™ Amazon.com Inc. and/or its affiliates.
***NCQA's"Health Insurance Plan Rankings 2011-12 - Medicare
SOURCE WellTok, Inc.