Fitness Challenge (Autumn 2009)
Groups from 41 states, including almost 12,000 participants, scored better health
through the 2009 Blue & You Fitness Challenge.
For six years, the Blue & You Fitness Challenge has helped participants improve
their fitness levels. The annual exercise contest, held March 1 through May 31,
encourages individuals toward the public health recommendation of 30 minutes of
physical activity each day, most days of the week. The contest promotes wellness
in the community and at the worksite by organizing groups that compete against like-size
Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield, the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) and
the Arkansas Department of Human Services (DHS) serve as Challenge hosts each year.
This year, representatives from other companies, organizations and state agencies
statewide — and outside of Arkansas — joined in the competition and were recognized
at the awards ceremonies (a complete list of participants can be found at arkansasbluecross.com)
to "Invest in Fitness."
"Exercise requires only a small investment of time and movement, and promises a
great rate of return on your health," said Richard Cooper, vice president of Human
Resources for Arkansas Blue Cross and team champion for the Challenge. “A total
of 167 groups representing large and small companies, banks, schools and universities,
physician offices, churches, hospitals and state agencies made a commitment to spend
some time exercising and reap the rewards of better fitness.
"The 11,791 participants logged 262,681.5 hours of exercise during the Challenge,
up from 221,465.5 hours of exercise in 2008," Cooper said.
"The Challenge continues to yield great results," said John Selig, director of DHS.
"Our online survey was completed by 2,628 contest participants. Almost 84 percent
of respondents said they reached their personal goals through the Challenge."
Respondents also indicated they had lowered their blood pressure (73 respondents),
cholesterol levels (41 respondents), weight (327 respondents), and blood sugar (26
respondents). Ninety-six percent said they would participate in future programs
like the Blue & You Fitness Challenge.
Charles McGrew, ADH deputy director and chief operating officer, said, "The costs
in treating diseases that result from preventable diseases is skyrocketing. And
yet, 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise five or more days a week can reduce
so many of these risks. Programs like the Blue & You Fitness Challenge make positive
steps toward turning the trend."
Now is the time to start planning for the 2010 Challenge.