Little Rock, Ark. (June 30, 2014) — Groups from around Arkansas gathered on June 30 as the winners of the 2014 Blue and You Fitness Challenge were revealed during a ceremony held at the Statehouse Convention Center in downtown Little Rock.
“Thousands of Americans decided to perfect their healthy self and boost their fitness routine in the Challenge this year,” said Richard Cooper, vice president of Human Resources for Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield. “The 7,569 individuals participating in those groups logged 473,165 checkpoints during the contest,” Richard said. “To log a checkpoint, participants exercised at least 30 minutes! And, I’m proud to announce the winners of the 2014 Challenge are…”
2014 Blue and You Fitness Challenge Winners
Group Category 1 (Two Participants) – Shirley’s Praise Team, Alexander, AR
Group Category 2 (Three Participants) – Arkansas Career Education, Little Rock, AR
Group Category 3 (4-5 Participants) – Oregon Trail Blazers, Salem, OR
Group Category 4 (6-7 Participants) – The Burnovators, Little Rock, AR
Group Category 5 (8-10 Participants) – The Ten Wonders, Clinton, AR
Group Category 6 (11-12 Participants) – SFLIC, Hot Springs, AR
Group Category 7 (13-14 Participants) – Arkansas State Plant Board, Little Rock, AR
Group Category 8 (15-17 Participants) – Arkansas Workers’ Compensation, Little Rock, AR
Group Category 9 (18-22 Participants) – Johnson Dermatology, Fort Smith, AR
Group Category 10 (23-33 Participants) – TDK-Lambda Americas SD, San Diego, CA
Group Category 11 (34-64 Participants) – Central Arkansas Water, Little Rock, AR
Group Category 12 (65-100 Participants) – Transportation Security Agency, Little Rock, AR
Group Category 13 (101-299 Participants) TIE – Bost, Inc., Fort Smith, AR and UAFS, Fort Smith, AR
Group Category 14 (300+ Participants) – Simmons First National Corporation, Pine Bluff, AR
A total of 151 groups representing large and small companies, banks, schools and universities, physician offices, churches, hospitals and state agencies made a commitment to fitness by spending some time exercising with friends and reaping the rewards of better fitness.
“Each year of the program participants see improvements in their fitness and health,” said John Selig, director of DHS. “Participants had great results again this year and the online survey offered through the contest Web site, provided more comprehensive data that proves that just three months of exercise can make a positive difference in overall health. More than a thousand contest participants completed the evaluation – a statistically significant sample – and reported improved fitness levels. Nearly 88 percent of respondents said they reached their personal goals through the Challenge. And that exercise paid off. About 74 percent of the survey participants said their health has improved since completing the Blue & You Fitness Challenge. The message is clear -- regular exercise makes a positive difference.”
Of the respondents, 18.9 percent said they reached their personal goal to “begin exercising”; 54.4 percent said they reached their goal to “increase exercising”; and 28.4 percent to “lose weight.”
Participants also indicated they had lowered their systolic and diastolic blood pressure (27 respondents), cholesterol levels (8 respondents), weight (134 respondents), and blood sugar (14 respondents) during the contest. Of those responding, 99 percent said they would participate in future programs like the Blue and You Fitness Challenge.
Nathaniel Smith, MD, MPH, Arkansas Department of Health Director and State Health Officer, stated, “most experts agree that we currently face a real health crisis in America. This is also true in Arkansas where chronic diseases account for 70 percent of all deaths in the state. Most of these deaths can be prevented by improving our diet, stopping tobacco use and increasing physical activity. The costs for treating chronic diseases — preventable diseases — are unsustainable. This problem can only be solved when we all work together to improve our health and the health of our communities. Efforts like the Blue and You Fitness Challenge are one way we can do that.”
“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,” Richard 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.”
The Blue and You Fitness Challenge
The Blue and You Fitness Challenge began in 2004 by Arkansas Blue Cross and the Arkansas Department of Health to encourage employees to work toward the public health recommendation of 30 minutes of adult physical activity each day, most days of the week. For more information about the Blue and You Fitness Challenge, log on to BlueAndYouFitnessChallenge-ark.com.
About the Arkansas Department of Health
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.
About the Arkansas Department of Human Services The Arkansas Department of Human Services (DHS) provides a wide range of social services to more than a million Arkansas citizens each year through its programs and private providers. 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 $6.2 billion annual budget.
About Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield
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 2,700 employees. If combined, the 38 independent, locally operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans collectively provide health care coverage for 93 million Americans.
The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association is comprised of 37 independent, locally operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans that collectively provide health care coverage for 100 million — nearly one in three — Americans.
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Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield is an Independent Licensee of the Blue Cross
and Blue Shield Association and is licensed to offer health plans in all 75 counties
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