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Record number of walkers join Independence Blue Cross for National Walk @ Lunch Day

Over 26,000 people from Southeastern Pennsylvania took steps toward healthier lives

Philadelphia, PA – On Wednesday, Independence Blue Cross (IBC) hosted a record 26,000 people from 105 employers in Rittenhouse Square and locations throughout the region during the sixth annual National Walk @ Lunch Day, a national effort sponsored by the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association to demonstrate how easy it is to take a walk at lunch and fit exercise into the busiest of schedules.

The local walk — the largest organized National Walk @ Lunch Day event in the country — nearly doubled in size this year, with an increase of more than 12,000 walkers over last year, including employees of  IBC’s customers, Philadelphia city employees, area school children, community members, and IBC associates.

“At Independence Blue Cross, our goal is simple, yet powerful — we want to help people in our community stay healthy,” said Daniel J. Hilferty, IBC president and CEO, after finishing his own walk. “We’re proud to sponsor annual events like National Walk @ Lunch Day that inspire a commitment to better health and that are convenient despite our busy lifestyles.”

Downtown at Rittenhouse Square, the Phillie Phanatic, the Sixers Dream Team, Zumba demonstrations, IBC choral and dance groups, and a hands-free CPR presentation from the Philadelphia Regional Emergency Medical Services entertained and informed the crowd and kept the energy flowing as approximately 5,000 participants walked a one-mile course around the perimeter of the square between 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Hilferty joined Christopher Cashman, IBC’s executive vice president and president of commercial markets, and Betsy Hummel, the president of Friends of Rittenhouse Square, on stage at the center of the square to address the crowd and kick off the event.

At more than 100 satellite walk locations not within walking distance of Center City, 21,000 others walked at lunch in activities organized by employers, school districts, and senior centers.

This year, IBC’s long-standing community partner, the American Cancer Society, joined the National Walk @ Lunch Day festivities at Rittenhouse Square and enrolled 70 participants in the Cancer Society’s landmark national cancer prevention study, Cancer Prevention Study-3 (CPS-3). IBC proudly serves as the CPS-3 Regional Champion — providing financial support and working side by side with the American Cancer Society to encourage enrollment in the study. In 2012 IBC hosted a one-day enrollment event at its headquarters at 1901 Market Street, a first for a company in a major metropolitan market. The American Cancer Society seeks to enroll at least 300,000 people nationwide in CPS-3 by the end of 2013 in order to help researchers better understand the genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors that cause or prevent cancer.

Walking for Wellness

The Mayo Clinic reports that simple exercises, like a daily brisk walk, can help people live healthier lives.

Regular brisk walking can help with:

  • Maintaining a healthy weight;
  • Preventing or managing conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes;
  • Improving moods;
  • Strengthening bones;
  • Improving balance and coordination.

IBC offers a number of options to help its customers build on the healthy habits that National Walk @ Lunch Day promotes, including:

  • A free pedometer application for iPhone and Android phones;
  • The IBX Get Walking website, which highlights year-round activities in the region that encourage people to enjoy our neighborhoods and strengthen the community one step at a time;
  • The IBX Walk the Talk blog, created to promote a meaningful dialogue about health and wellness in our community.

National Walk @ Lunch Day is a component of WalkingWorks®, a Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association physical activity program designed to help Americans live healthier lives and reduce unnecessary medical costs to treat illnesses resulting from physical inactivity. Today, National Walk @ Lunch Day attracted tens of thousands of participants through walking events held across all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and Canada. The WalkingWorks program was developed in partnership with the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition.

Media Contact:
Kathleen Conlon