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Blue & You Fitness Challenge Kicks off Another Year of Fitness


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:
Ann Wright-Russell, Arkansas Department of Health @ 501-661-2474
Kristy Fleming, Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield @ 501-378-5869
Joyce Williams, Department of Human Services @ 501-683-5280

10,400 participants competing in the 2013 contest

Little Rock, Ark. (March 7, 2013) — Representatives from companies and groups throughout Arkansas and the nation gathered today to kick off of the 2013 Blue & You Fitness Challenge held at the Statehouse Convention Center.

Groups and individuals pledged to “stop wondering what fit feels like and start enjoying what “it feels like to be fit” at the kickoff event as companies and groups made their commitment to exercise 30, 60 or 92 checkpoints and advance virtually across America.

The exercise competition has grown from two entities in 2004 to 128 groups with almost 10,400 employees/individuals competing in 2013. The Blue & You Fitness Challenge began March 1 and runs through May 31 and is hosted by Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield, the Arkansas Department of Health and the Arkansas Department of Human Services. The Challenge encourages employees to work toward the public health recommendation of 30 minutes of physical activity each day for adults, most days of the week.

“Thousands of people are making a move toward better health by participating in the Challenge this year,” said Richard Cooper, vice president of Human Resources for Arkansas Blue Cross and team champion for the Challenge.”

During the contest, participants engage in eligible cardiovascular-oriented exercises to work their way through at least 30 virtual checkpoints across America during the three-month contest, although 92 checkpoints (the number of total days of the contest) are on the virtual map. Participants exercise through all state capitals, many national parks and some interesting places in between.

Blue & You Fitness Challenge participants register and log their exercise online at BlueAndYouFitnessChallenge-ark.com. Participants are able to watch real-time data to see how their stats compare to others in the competition. The winning entity is determined by the greatest group participation and the highest scores in four categories.

“At DHS, our more than 7,500 employees take care of our citizens across the state every day. We want them to take care of themselves, too, and that’s why the Blue & You Fitness Challenge is so important,” said Steven Jones, deputy director of the Arkansas Department of Human Services. “The Blue & You Fitness Challenge gives everyone a chance to start fresh each year and it gives DHS a chance to promote healthy habits at work. Regular exercise is a good way to reduce stress, battle the effects of working at a desk job every day and improve cardiovascular health. Healthy employees are more productive people who will live longer, better lives. We are proud that this home-grown program has put Arkansas in the national spotlight for promoting worksite wellness.”

“Arkansans are lagging behind the rest of the country in the amount of regular physical activity they get and in proper daily nutrition. Three out of four of our high school students did not attend physical education classes five days in an average week, and four out of five adults don’t meet exercise guidelines,” said Nate Smith, M.D., M.P.H., Deputy Director for Public Health Programs at the Arkansas Department of Health. “Most of us—almost nine out of ten—don’t eat the right kind of food every day.”

“In the last ten years, Arkansas businesses have made great strides in improving access to exercise facilities, better nutritional options and physical activities. They have in some cases even offered incentives for participation in those programs using days off or discounts on health insurance as rewards. Employers recognized that rising costs of our declining health, the value of lost productivity and the pressure of rising medical costs could be countered effectively and economically with worksite wellness programs. The good news is that research finds that medical costs fall by about $3.27 for every dollar invested in workplace wellness programs.

“We believe programs like the Blue & You Fitness Challenge are a fun, motivational way to help begin to change lifestyles and improve overall health,” Smith said.

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. Arkansas Blue Cross and its affiliates have more than 2,800 employees. If combined, the 38 independent, locally operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans collectively provide health care coverage for 100 million – nearly one in three – Americans.

The Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) is a centralized health department, operating health 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 disease and threats, provide preventative 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 and consists of 10 divisions and six 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 Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as Food Stamps, and the Medicaid program, which account for the largest part of the department’s $5.8 billion annual budget.

Blue & You Fitness Challenge 2013
Confirmed Participating Groups/Companies

1st Bank Hope AR
ACHI Little Rock AR
Acorn School Mena AR
Administrative Office of The Courts Little Rock AR
AETN Conway AR
Alliance Rubber Company Hot Springs AR
AOG Forth Smith AR
AR Department of Emergency Mgmt North Little Rock AR
AR Department of Human Services Perryville AR
AR Department of Parks & Tourism Bismarck 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 Career Education Little Rock AR
Arkansas Children's Hospital Little Rock AR
Arkansas Department of Health Little Rock AR
Arkansas Education Association Little Rock AR
Arkansas Foundation for Medical Care Fort Smith AR
Arkansas Insurance Department Little Rock AR
Arkansas Public Service Commission Little Rock AR
Arkansas Securities Department Little Rock AR
Arkansas State Library Little Rock AR
Arkansas State Plant Board Little Rock AR
Arkansas State University State University AR
Arkansas State University-Newport Newport AR
Arkansas Tech University Russellville AR
Arkansas Workers' Compensation Little Rock AR
Arvest Bank Fort Smith AR
Arvest Bank - CMC Little Rock AR
Arvest Bank - Little Rock Little Rock AR
ASU - Mountain Home Mountain Home AR
ASU - Beebe Beebe AR
Baptist Health Little Rock AR
Baxter Regional Medical Center Mountain Home AR
Beall Barclay Fort Smith AR
Beebe Public School Beebe AR
Ben E. Keith Foods North Little Rock AR
Bost Inc. Fort Smith AR
Brookland School District Brookland AR
Central Arkansas Water Little Rock AR
Central States Mfg, Inc Lowell AR
CEO - Alpha Kappa Alpha Little Rock AR
City of North Little Rock North Little Rock AR
CMI Little Rock AR
Collom & Carney Clinic Association Texarkana TX
County Line School District Branch AR
Delta AHEC Helena AR
Department of Workforce Services Little Rock AR
DFA- Employee Benefits Division Little Rock AR
Diamond Bank Hot Springs AR
Diva's Connection Little Rock AR
Dollarway Healthy Fitness Striders Pine Bluff AR
Dover Elementary School Dover AR
EEE - "Drop it Like its Hot" Little Rock AR
Elkins Public Library Elkins AR
FAMILY MEDICINE CLINIC P A Hot Springs AR
FBC Prairie Grove Prairie Grove AR
Fort Smith Boys & Girls Club Fort Smith AR
Friends and Family Tucson AZ
G Ladies Jacksonville AR
Glenn Mechanical El Dorado AR
Grace United Methodist Church Conway AR
Haas Hall Fayetteville AR
Harrisburg High School Harrisburg AR
Harrisburg Middle School Harrisburg AR
Harrisburg Middle School Students Harrisburg AR
Harrison Wellness Center Harrison AR
Hot Springs City Hall / Annex Hot Springs AR
IMWell Health Fort Smith AR
Independent Living, Inc. Harrison AR
Industrial Mill and Maintenance Texarkana TX
Jefferson County Pine Bluff AR
Johnson Dermatology Fort Smith AR
JTS Financial Services, LLC Little Rock AR
Kerusso Berryville 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 Lamar AR
Lamar High School Lamar AR
Lamar Middle School Lamar AR
Liberty Bank of Arkansas Jonesboro AR
LISA Academy North Sherwood AR
Little Rock Diamond Ladies North Little Rock AR
M&P Community Bancshares, Inc. Newport AR
Magnolia Regional Medical Center Magnolia AR
Margaret Daniel Primary School Ashdown AR
Mark Twain National Forest Zone 2 Poplar Bluff MO
Mayflower Schools Mayflower AR
Maynard School Maynard AR
Me, Myself and I Workout Little Rock AR
Meekins Middle School Stuttgart AR
Murphy Oil Corporation El Dorado AR
National Park Service - MISS St. Paul MN
Nettleton School District Jonesboro AR
Northrop Grumman Cutting Edge St. Charles MO
Northside High School Faculty Fort Smith AR
Northside High Students Fort Smith AR
Nucor Yamato Steel Blytheville AR
NW Arkansas Community College Bentonville AR
Opportunities, Inc. Texarkana TX
Optus, Inc. Jonesboro AR
Pace Industries Fayetteville AR
Pangburn School District Pangburn AR
Pocahontas Medical Clinic Pocahontas AR
Prairie Grove Schools Prairie Grove AR
Prince William City Parks & Recreation Manassas VA
Radiology Associates Little rock AR
Red River Federal Credit Union Texarkana TX
Reynolds Cancer Support House Fort Smith AR
Rural Sourcing Inc. Jonesboro AR
Schmieding Center - UAMS Springdale AR
SFLIC Hot Springs AR
SHS Stuttgart AR
Simmons First National Corporation Pine Bluff AR
Summit Bank Arkadelphia AR
TDK-Lambda Americas - DTC Richardson TX
TDK-Lambda Americas - LP San Diego CA
Texana Bank Texarkana TX
Texarkana College Texarkana TX
Texarkana ISD Texarkana TX
The Cason Group Columbia SC
The Citizens Bank Batesville AR
The Cullman Bunch Hanceville AL
The RoArk Group Rogers AR
The Ten Wonders Clinton AR
Transplace Lowell AR
Trimmed Down Toned Up Trojans Hot Springs AR
Truman Arnold Companies Texarkana TX
TSA-Arkansas Little Rock AR
UAMS Northeast Jonesboro AR
University of Arkansas- Fort Smith Fort Smith AR
UofA-Fayetteville- Information Tech Srvcs. Fayetteville AR
USAble Life Insurance Little Rock AR
W.P. Malone, Inc. Arkadelphia AR
White Co. Central School District Judsonia AR
White Hall School District White Hall AR

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