News Release

Winners of the 2011 Blue and You Fitness Challenge receive awards for ‘super’ performance in contest


Kristy Fleming @ 501-378-5869
Ann Wright, ADH @ 501-661-2474
Joyce Williams, DHS @ 501-683-5286

Little Rock, Ark. (July 14, 2011) — Groups from 33 states gathered as the “true identities” of groups and students were revealed as winners of the 2011 Blue and You Fitness Challenge during ceremonies held today at the Statehouse Convention Center in downtown Little Rock.

This is the eighth year for the Blue and You Fitness Challenge, an exercise contest held annually March 1 through May 31. In addition to the Challenge hosts – Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield, the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) and the Arkansas Department of Human Services (DHS) — 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 companies/groups follows).

As Challenge participants exercised their way virtually across the United States, they could receive daily motivational messages by following the Challenge on Facebook® and Twitter. Winners from this year’s challenge and pictures from the media conference will be posted today on Facebook and the Web site.

“Thousands of Americans decided to boost their fitness routine and give ‘Fitness a Pow!’ by participating in the Challenge this year,” said Richard Cooper, vice president of Human Resources for Arkansas Blue Cross. A total of 183 groups representing large and small companies, banks, schools and universities, physician offices, churches, hospitals and state agencies made a commitment to defend fitness by spending some time exercising and reaping the rewards of better fitness. “The 9,998 individuals participating in those groups logged 468,886 checkpoints during the contest! To log a checkpoint, participants exercised at least 30 minutes, which translates – at a minimum – to 234,443 hours of exercise during the Challenge! Now, that’s something to get super charged about!”

Four measures determined the winners of the Challenge: 1 – Goal Participation (percentage of participants meeting/exceeding 30 checkpoints; 35 points); 2 – Exercise Frequency (average number of checkpoints per participant; 35 points); 3 – Overall Participation (percent of eligible population participating; 20 points); and 4 – Persistency Rate (lowest rate of nonstarters; 10 points). The highest scoring group on a single item earned the points assigned to that measure and was the “winner” of that measure. The group earning the most cumulative points was declared the overall winner (in each group size category).

Gina Pharis, a member of the Governor’s Council on Fitness and executive director of the Little Rock Marathon, announced the 2011 Challenge winners:

Winners of the 2011 Blue & You Fitness Challenge are:

Group Category 1 (2-3 participants)
Garland County Employees — Hot Springs, Arkansas
Group Category 2 (4-6 participants)
Arkansas Education Association — Little Rock, Arkansas
Group Category 3 (7-10 participants)
Arkansas Diamonds — Hot Springs Village, Arkansas
Group Category 4 (11-12 participants)
Lamar Middle School— Lamar, Arkansas
Group Category 5 (13-14 participants)
Highland High School — Hardy, Arkansas
Group Category 6 (15-16 participants)
Boys & Girls Club of Alma — Alma, Arkansas
Group Category 7 (17-19 participants) - TIE
Arkansas State Plant Board — Little Rock, Arkansas
Ben E. Keith — North Little Rock, Arkansas

Group Category 8 (20-23 participants) - TIE
Kerusso — Berryville, Arkansas
Lamar High School — Lamar, Arkansas

Group Category 9 (24-30 participants)
Lamar Nutrition and Wellness 1 — Lamar, Arkansas
Group Category 10 (31-39 participants)
Northrop Grumman CEO — St. Charles, Missouri
Group Category 11 (40-50 participants)
Lamar Elementary School — Lamar, Arkansas
Group Category 12 (51-80 participants)
Administrative Offices of the Courts — Little Rock, Arkansas
Group Category 13 (81-199 participants)
Transportation Security Administration — Little Rock, Arkansas
Group Category 14 (200+ participants)
Arkansas Children’s Hospital — Little Rock, Arkansas

Student Winners:
Grand-prize winner:

  • Camron Cowell from Lamar Nutrition and Wellness 1 in Lamar, AR — won a Walmart gift card toward the purchase of a bike.

Runners-up prize winners (fitness-related gift bags and gift cards):

  • Adriana Ortiz from Kimmons Junior High PE4life in Fort Smith,
  • Jordan Haley from Highland High School in Hardy, and
  • Bryan Miller from Harrisburg Middle Hornet X-treme in Harrisburg.

In addition to being recognized as top achievers, Blue and You Fitness Challenge participants reaped health and fitness rewards.

“The first seven years of the Challenge yielded great results for the participants involved,” said John Selig, director of DHS. “This year was no exception and with the online survey offered through the contest Web site, we have even more comprehensive data. A total of 1,951 contest participants completed the evaluation – a statistically significant sample – and reported improved fitness levels. Almost 86 percent of respondents said they reached their personal goals through the Challenge. And demonstrating that they see the link between regular exercise and good health, nearly 78 percent of the survey participants said their health has improved since completing the Blue & You Fitness Challenge.” The following percentage of survey respondents indicated their levels of exercise below:

Beginning of Contest End of Contest
16.0 percent exercised 0 days per week 0.4 percent exercised 0 days per week
27.3 percent exercised 1 day per week 1.9 percent exercised 1 day per week
32.4 percent exercised 3 days per week 31.1 percent exercised 3 days per week
15.7 percent exercised 5 days per week 37.5 percent exercised 5 days per week
8.6 percent exercised every day 29.1 percent exercised every day

Of the respondents, 22.9 percent said they reached their personal goal to “begin exercising;” 52.4 percent of respondents said they reached their goal to “increase exercising;” and 29.7 percent to “lose weight.

Respondents also indicated they had lowered their systolic and diastolic blood pressure (44 respondents), cholesterol levels (13 respondents), weight (231 respondents), and blood sugar (18 respondents) during the contest. Almost 99 percent said they would participate in future programs like the Blue and You Fitness Challenge.

According to Nate Smith, MD, MPH, Deputy State Health Officer and Deputy Director, Arkansas Department of Health, chronic diseases, including heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes and chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD) account for 60 percent of all deaths in Arkansas every year. “More than 17,000 Arkansans die each year as the result of chronic disease, and most of those illnesses are preventable,” Smith said. “We spend most of our health care dollars on treatment and care for patients who have chronic diseases that are preventable. The problem is too big for any single agency to deal with on its own — we will have to work on these problems together, as a community. Programs like the Fitness Challenge can make a big difference in our health here in Arkansas and in the nation."

“Participants told us that the Challenge inspired them to quit smoking, eat better, lose weight, get the family involved, even participate in activities they never dreamed they could,” Cooper said. “Our desire is to meet people right where they are and get them started down the road to better health, better self-esteem and a better life. We are particularly excited about our student involvement and recognize that starting healthy habits at a young age can lead to happier, healthier, more productive lives in adulthood and, someday in the workplace.”

The Blue and You Fitness Challenge was started in 2004 by Arkansas Blue Cross and the Arkansas Department of Health to encourage employees to work toward the public health recommendation of adult physical activity 30 minutes each day, most days of the week.

For more information about the Blue and You Fitness Challenge, log on to To help companies prepare for their own competitions, an Employee Fitness Contest Kit, a complete guide to organizing an employee competition, is available free by calling: 1-800-686-2609 (Arkansas Blue Cross) or stopping by the nearest Arkansas Blue Cross office.

The Kit may be downloaded as PDFs at any one of the following Web sites:

  • (click on “Employers” tab, then the Kit logo)
  • (click on “Employers” tab, then the Kit logo)
  • (click on “Employers” tab, then the Kit logo)

Founded in 1948, Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield, an Independent Licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, is the largest health insurer in Arkansas. If combined, the 39 independent, locally operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans collectively provide health care coverage for 93 million — nearly one in three — Americans.

The Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) is a centralized health department, operating units in each of the state’s 75 counties. County governments provide facilities and support for the clinical, environmental and home health services offered by the agency. The mission of the Department is to promote public health policies and practices that assure a healthy quality of life for Arkansans. ADH works to protect, improve and promote the health of all Arkansans with the support of more than 5,000 dedicated employees and public and private partners. During each year, Department employees monitor and investigate public health diseases and threats, provide preventive and personal health services in clinical and in-home settings, provide education and enforce laws and regulations, support Hometown Health Improvement, promote healthy behaviors, respond to public health emergencies and educate and monitor industries that impact the public’s health.

The Arkansas Department of Human Services provides a wide range of social services to more than a million Arkansas citizens each year through its programs and private providers. DHS is the largest department of the executive branch of state government. It has more than 7,000 employees a and consists of ten divisions and four support offices. DHS maintains offices in each of the state’s 75 counties where a person can apply for all the services DHS offers. Services are provided to people from all walks of life and all ages. Major programs, which fall under the Arkansas Department of Human Services, include the federal Food Stamp program and the Medicaid program, which accounts for the largest part of the department’s $4 billion annual budget.

2011 Participating Groups/Companies

Group Name City State
Administrative Office of The Courts Little Rock AR
AETN Conway AR
AFMC Little Rock AR
AGFC Little Rock AR
Alliance Insurance Group Arkadelphia AR
Alliance Rubber Company Hot Springs AR
Allied Therapy Ward AR
Alma 7th grade cheerleaders Alma AR
Alma Intermediate School Alma AR
Alma Middle School Students Alma AR
Alpha Class Texarkana TX
Amfuel Magnolia AR
Annie Camp Junior High School Jonesboro AR
Aon Risk Services Southwest, Inc. Little Rock AR
AR Department of Human Services Perryville AR
AR Regional Organ Recovery Agency Little Rock AR
Architectural Concepts Jonesboro AR
Area Health Education Center Fort Smith AR
ARGCO Fort smith AR
Ark. Dept. of Information Systems Little Rock AR
Arkansas Best Federal Credit Union Fort Smith AR
Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield Little Rock AR
Arkansas Building Authority Little Rock AR
Arkansas Cardiology Little Rock AR
Arkansas Children’s Hospital Little Rock AR
Arkansas County Partners In Health Stuttgart AR
Arkansas Department of Health Little Rock AR
Arkansas Dept. of Parks And Tourism Little Rock AR
Arkansas Diamonds Hot Springs Village AR
Arkansas Education Association Little Rock AR
Arkansas Methodist Medical Center Paragould AR
Arkansas Pediatric Clinic Little Rock AR
Arkansas Public Service Commission Little Rock AR
Arkansas Real Estate Commission Little Rock AR
Arkansas Securities Department Little Rock AR
Arkansas State Plant Board Little Rock AR
Arkansas State University Jonesboro AR
Arkansas State University Beebe AR
Arkansas State University Newport AR
Arkansas Supreme Court Little Rock AR
Arkansas Tech University Russellville AR
ArkBoard of Public Accountancy Little Rock AR
Ark-La-Tex Health Network Texarkana TX
Arquest Camden AR
Arkansas State University Mountain Home AR
Atlanta ISD Atlanta TX
Ayrshire Electronics LLC Fayetteville AR
B & F Engineering Hot Springs AR
BancorpSouth Insurance Services Jonesboro AR
Bank of Salem Salem AR
Baptist Health Little Rock AR
Baxter Regional Medical Center Mountain Home AR
Bayou Meto Elementary School Jacksonville AR
Beall Barclay Fort Smith AR
Bekaert Steel (Gaucho Dept) Van Buren AR
Ben E. Keith North Little Rock AR
Bost, Inc. Fort Smith AR
Boys & Girls Club of Alma Alma AR
Bradley County Medical Center Warren AR
Brown & Brown Insurance of Arkansas Springdale AR
Buffalo National River Harrison AR
Cabot Middle School North Cabot AR
Carl Albert Wonders Mid West City OK
Central Arkansas Water Little Rock AR
Central Jr. High School Springdale AR
Cheer X-Treme Fort Smith AR
Chi Eta Omega - Alpha Kappa Alpha Little Rock AR
Christ the King School Little Rock AR
CHRISTUS Health Texarkana AR
Citizens Bank Batesville AR
City of Jonesboro Jonesboro AR
City of Mountain Home Mountain Home AR
City of North Little Rock North Little Rock AR
City of Springdale Springdale AR
City of Texarkana, AR Texarkana AR
City of Texarkana, Texas Texarkana TX
City Water and Light Jonesboro AR
CityYouth Ministries Inc. Jonesboro AR
Clarksville Medical Group Clarksville AR
Cleveland County Oil Company Inc. Rison AR
CMI Little Rock AR
Coldstream Fisheries Paragould AR
Collom & Carney Clinic Association Texarkana TX
Colson Caster Corporation Jonesboro AR
Construction Network Jonesboro AR
Daines Insurance Texarkana TX
Dallas County Medical Center Fordyce AR
Dan’s Health Club (Hytrol Con.) Jonesboro AR
Datacom Solutions Hardy AR
Delta AHEC Helena- West Helena AR
Diamond Bank Hot Springs AR
Diamond Bank - Nashville Nashville AR
Diamond State Insurance Nashville AR
Dillard’s FS Fitness Group. Ft. Smith AR
Dorel Team Home Furnishings Bentonville AR
EagleOne Fort Smith AR
East End School District Bigelow AR
Elkins Public Library Elkins AR
Eureka Springs Public Schools Eureka Springs AR
Evergreen Packaging Pine Bluff AR
Express Personnel Services Texarkana AR
Family Wake Village TX
Family Medicine Clinic PA Hot Springs AR
Farmers and Merchants Bank Stuttgart AR
Fatcity Steak and Grill House Jonesboro AR
Fikes Hope AR
First Baptist Church Prairie Grove AR
First National Bank- Hot Springs Hot Springs AR
First National Bank of Wynne Wynne AR
First Step Schools, Inc Hot Springs AR
Fort Smith Radiation Oncology Fort Smith AR
Fort Smith Rotary Club Fort Smith AR
Ft. Lake Hot Springs AR
Garland County Employees Hot Springs AR
Garland County Project H.O.P.E. Hot Springs AR
Grant County Hometown Health Coalition Sheridan AR
Green Forest School Green Forest AR
Hamrick Community Group Fayetteville AR
Harrisburg Middle Hornet X-treme Harrisburg AR
Hartford School District Hartford AR
Hays Wynne AR
Hays Store, Inc. Blytheville AR
Henderson Fitness Reddies Arkadelphia AR
Henderson L.O.V.E. After-school Little Rock AR
Highland High School Hardy AR
Hilltop Travel Center Alma AR
Howard Perrin Elementary Benton AR
Independence Blue Cross Philadelphia PA
Independent Living, Inc. Harrison AR
Jefferson County Pine Bluff AR
Jefferson Regional Medical Center Pine Bluff AR
Jeff’s Crew Alexander AR
JK North America, Inc. Jonesboro AR
Jonesboro Fire Department Jonesboro AR
Jonesboro Regional Chamber Jonesboro AR
K & K Veterinary Supply, Inc. Tontitown AR
Kerusso Berryville AR
Kimberly Clark Corporation Conway AR
Kimmons Junior High PE4life Fort Smith AR
Kimmons Junior High Staff Fort Smith AR
Knights of Columbus #996 Fort Smith AR
LaCroix Optical Co. Batesville AR
Lamar Elementary School Lamar AR
Lamar High School Lamar AR
Lamar Middle School Lamar AR
Lamar Nutrition and Wellness 1 Lamar AR
Lamar Parental Involvement Team Lamar AR
Liberty Bank of Arkansas Siloam Springs AR
LifeNet, Inc. Texarkana TX
Little Rock Central High School Little Rock AR
Little Rock School District Little Rock AR
Mainstream Technologies, Inc. Little Rock AR
Margaret Daniel Primary School Ashdown AR
Medic One Jonesboro AR
Merchants & Planters Bank Newport AR
Methodist Nursing Home Fort Smith AR
Millieplunkett Rison AR
MIS Pups Morrilton AR
Mitchell Williams Law Firm Little Rock AR
Mountain Valley Spring Hot Springs Village AR
Mountainburg Schools Mountainburg AR
MSI West Little Rock Little Rock AR
Munchy’s Jonesboro AR
Murphy Oil Corporation El Dorado AR
Natural Resources Consv. Serv. Little Rock AR
NEA Baptist Clinic Wellness Center Jonesboro AR
North Little Rock School District North Little Rock AR
Northrop Grumman CEO Saint Charles MO
Northside High School Fort Smtih AR
NorthWest AR Community College Bentonville AR
Nucor Yamato Steel Blytheville AR
Opportunities, Inc. Texarkana TX
Optus, Inc. Jonesboro AR
Owl Creek School Fayetteville AR
Pace Industries, Inc. Fayetteville AR
Paris Eagles Paris AR
PGTELCO Prairie Grove AR
Physicians Day Surgery Fort Smith AR
Pine Bluff Jefferson County EOC Pine Bluff AR
Poinsett Rice and Grain Jonesboro AR
PRADCO Fort Smith AR
Prince William Cty Park Authority Prince William VA
Red River Credit Union Texarkana TX
Regions Bank - Jonesboro Jonesboro AR
RFMMS Wellness Center Pine Bluff AR
Roach Conveyors Trumann AR
Saline Cnty Hometown Health Coalition Benton AR
Sevier County De Queen AR
SFLIC Hot Springs AR
Shiloh Christian School Springdale AR
Simmons First National Corporation Pine Bluff AR
Sistercisers White Hall AR
Smith’s Ready Mix, Inc. Nashville AR
Southside FBLA Fort Smith AR
Southwest Power Pool Little Rock AR
Springdale Westwood Wolves Springdale AR
St Bernards Medical Center Jonesboro AR
Sugarfree/Flourfree Jonesboro AR
Summit Bank Arkadelphia AR
TASD - ABC Program Texarkana AR
TASD - Administration Texarkana AR
TASD - AHS Texarkana AR
TASD - Athletics Texarkana AR
TASD - CHMS Texarkana AR
TASD - College Hill Texarkana AR
TASD - Fairview Texarkana AR
TASD - Kilpatrick Texarkana AR
TASD - Maintenance Texarkana AR
TASD - NHJH Texarkana AR
TASD - TAVC Texarkana AR
TASD - Trice Texarkana AR
TASD - Union Texarkana AR
TASD - Washington Texarkana AR
TASD - WTD Texarkana AR
Team Exhausted Oklahoma City OK
Teleflora AR Paragould AR
Texarkana Embroidery and Graphics Texarkana TX
Texarkana ISD Texarkana TX
The Bank of Fayetteville Fayetteville AR
The Boomer Sooner’s Fort Smith AR
The Defender’s Little Rock AR
The First Tee of Fort Smith Fort Smith AR
TOPS AR 570 El Dorado AR
Total Medical Supply Texarkana TX
Trane Arkansas Little Rock AR
Transplace Lowell AR
Transportation Security Admin. Little Rock AR
Trinity Warriors Texarkana AR
UA Fort Smith Fort Smith AR
UAMS AHEC Northeast Jonesboro AR
UAMS AHEC Northwest Fayetteville AR
UAMS AHEC Pine Bluff Pine Bluff AR
UAMS AHEC Southwest Texarkana AR
UAMS-AHEC-North Central Batesville AR
University of the Ozarks Clarksville AR
URS @ PBCDF White Hall AR
USA Truck Van Buren AR
USAble Life Little Rock AR
Valley View School District Jonesboro AR
Vista Health Services - Fort Smith Barling AR
W D Barry Texarkana TX
W.P. Malone, Inc. Arkadelphia AR
Walnut Hill Lewisville AR
Walnut Valley Hot Springs AR
Warrior Academy Warriors Little Rock AR
Watson Chapel Jr. High FBLA Pine Bluff AR
Weekend Warriors Fayetteville AR
Western Ark Counseling & Guidance Fort Smith AR
Wingate/Gartman Group Harrison AR
Wynne Public Schools Wynne AR

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