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American Heart Association Award Recognizes Regence as a Start! Fit-Friendly Company

Company is honored along with other businesses for its commitment to

building a culture of wellness and supporting employees' health with

innovative fitness and nutrition programs

PORTLAND, Ore., Nov. 7 /PRNewswire/ -- The American Heart Association recently recognized Regence as a Start! Fit-Friendly Company for its efforts to create a culture of wellness in the workplace and helping employees live healthier lives. The company earned a gold level award as part of the AHA's Start! Fit-Friendly Companies Program, which honors organizations that meet several criteria related to physical fitness, nutrition and corporate culture.

Regence earned the award by fulfilling these standards, which require that the company implement at least six activities in physical activity, two in nutrition and one in wellness culture. Regence was recognized for its wellness culture across all its plans in Oregon, Washington, Utah and Idaho. In particular, Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Utah was singled out as the first company in that state to receive this award.

"This honor from the American Heart Association is especially meaningful to us at Regence, as we strive to set an example for our members and the community by building a culture of well-being among our employees," said Amy Walloch, supervisor of Wellness Programs for Regence. "This award is truly a reflection of our employees' commitment to their personal health and the vital role they play in helping Regence build our wellness culture."

One such employee is Shannon Worthen, who joined Regence in August, 2005 and only a few months later began taking advantage of the company's Weight Watchers discount and joined Regence's onsite fitness center. Since then, she has lost 56 pounds. Regence received an additional honor when Worthen received the AHA's Start! Lifestyle Change Award for making outstanding lifestyle improvements to live longer and stronger. "I'm honored to be recognized alongside my employer. I started out slowly, but Regence has made it easy and fun to maintain my fitness goals. I'm living proof that with the right support, people can change their lives," said Worthen.

"A catalyst for positive change in American business, the Start! Fit-Friendly Companies Recognition Program honors employers who champion the health of their employees. The American Heart Association is pleased to recognize Regence for their efforts in implementing changes in physical activity, nutrition and culture and for setting the example for other corporations to follow," said Howard Headlee, co-chair of the 2007 Start! Utah Heart Walk and longtime AHA volunteer.

The AHA's gold level award recognized Regence for fulfilling the gold level award criteria with a number of innovative fitness, nutrition and wellness programs. Among the winning entries included in the fitness category were the Regence Rewards program and Club Blue facilities. For the nutrition category, Regence entered its "Your Health Your Way" program, which provides a 35 percent discount on healthy food options in all of the company's Cafe Blue cafeterias. Regence maintains Club Blue fitness centers at its facilities, where employees can use exercise equipment or take a fitness class. Employees earn Regence Rewards points for participating in wellness programs, which can ultimately be redeemed for gift cards to a variety of vendors. Regence's commitment to a wellness culture is also exemplified by the company's health coaches, who are available to help employees who want to adopt healthy behaviors such as weight loss or smoking cessation.

About Regence

Created in 1995, Regence is the largest health insurer in the Northwest/Mountain State Region, operating Regence BlueShield of Idaho, Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon, Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Utah and Regence BlueShield (in select counties in Washington). Through these plans, Regence provides health, life, vision and dental insurance to nearly three million members. Regence Plans are not-for-profit, independent licensees of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. More than one in three Americans have coverage from the Blues. For more information, visit

SOURCE Regence
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