CIGNA Health Awareness Tour Riders to Bicycle a Combined 3,000 Miles in Two
Weeks, Stopping in 30 Cities to Deliver a Message of Health and Hope
PHILADELPHIA, Sept. 5 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- It's possible that this generation of Americans may, on average, live less healthy and possibly even shorter lives than their parents if the problem of obesity isn't effectively addressed (1). What's more, chronic diseases account for seven out of every 10 deaths and affect the quality of life of more than 90 million Americans (2). In an effort to bring attention to these alarming trends and help reverse them, CIGNA today announced the 2007 CIGNA Health Awareness Tour. The tour is designed to engage people across the nation in taking a more active role in living a healthy lifestyle.
From September 10 through September 21, more than 80 CIGNA employees from locations across the country will be riding in seven coordinated, five-day bicycle tours, each averaging 426 miles. The riders will be stopping in 30 cities along the routes to share their own personal stories and bring the message of health and hope to thousands of CIGNA employees and their families, as well as the company's clients, members and the general public, through participation in community-wide events and one-on-one conversations.
"Through the personal example and outreach of CIGNA's employees, we hope to encourage more Americans to take an active role in reaching their own best health," said David Cordani, president of CIGNA HealthCare, who will be riding in several of the tours. "CIGNA's member-focused health advocacy programs, employer workplace wellness initiatives and consultative approach with clients have proven that reaching out, one person at a time, can make a real difference. Extending our message into the broader community with the CIGNA Health Awareness Tour is simply a continuation of our commitment to wellness," added Cordani.
Chris McSwain, Director, Compensation & Benefits of SCANA Corporation, participated in the 2005 Health Awareness Tour. "My participation in the Health Awareness Tour came at a pivotal time in the history of our organization's attack on the health care and productivity issues that most American companies face. The commitment I saw on the ride encouraged me to continue to pursue our health and wellness approach to health care," said McSwain.
Under McSwain's guidance, SCANA has created an award-winning health improvement program for the more than 5,000 associates and family members of SCANA Corporation. Through programs such as the LiveWell Resource Center which integrates on-site pharmacy, wellness and behavioral health with the on-site Mobile Medical Unit, SCANA has been able to improve productivity and health outcomes, reduce absences, and improve the health of the SCANA family while being able to hold employee medical premiums flat for three consecutive years.
Walt DeArmitt, owner of Walt's Cafe in Huntingdon, Penn., is another Health Awareness Tour success story. In 2005, the riders stopped at his restaurant and explained their mission and some ideas DeArmitt could implement to improve his own health. Shortly after that meeting, DeArmitt was hospitalized as a result of his health condition. After his release, he committed to making the dietary and lifestyle changes the riders had talked with him about. Two years later, he has lost almost 200 pounds, overcome diabetes and changed his restaurant menu to include healthier options, thereby creating his own "community of health" with his patrons. The 2005 Health Awareness Tour T-shirt hangs on his wall as a reminder of what a difference this visit made in one person's life.
Gary Earl, senior vice president at CIGNA HealthCare and founder of the Health Awareness Tour said, "Although many people do have a basic understanding of the value of living a healthy lifestyle, there are often obstacles preventing them from doing so. In some cases, people enthusiastically attempt to go from a sedentary lifestyle to starting an overly strenuous exercise regimen, only to become exhausted, discouraged and disengaged." Therefore, the riders on the tour will be encouraging people to start simple, but to start, and to use small victories to overcome obstacles. Some ideas include:
-- Park a bit further away in the parking lot or walk to work.
-- Avoid the elevator or escalator and take the stairs instead.
-- Drink water before and with every meal.
-- Never diet, instead eat consciously from foods that are rich in color,
such as fruits and vegetables, to get necessary nutrients.
-- Include daily exercise such as walking.
-- Volunteer in your community and take time to love and appreciate those
Earl encourages people to get a fitness partner, or have fun getting fit with family, friends or co-workers. Mutual encouragement can help keep a fitness plan on track. "All it takes is one small step and you too can be on the path to feeling better about yourself, which in itself is very contagious and rewarding to those around you. It is a wonderfully victorious 'cycle'," concludes Earl.
This is the third, and most expansive, Health Awareness Tour. The first, in 2005, sponsored by CIGNA, consisted of a small band of cyclists, led by Earl, riding across the country delivering a message of health and fitness. On the 2006 CIGNA Health Awareness Tour, Earl was joined by Cordani and the team of cyclists rode from Washington DC to the company's health care headquarters Bloomfield, CT. This year the seven tours will include:
-- Anaheim to Sacramento (CA), Sept. 10-14, with stops in San Jose,
Oakland, Glendale and Visalia
-- Pittsburgh to Philadelphia, Sept. 10-14, with stops in North Fayette
(PA), Claymont (DE), and Voorhees (NJ)
-- Nashville (TN) to Atlanta (GA), Sept. 11-14, with stops in Franklin
(TN) and Chattanooga
-- Las Vegas (NV) to Phoenix (AZ), Sept 12-17
-- Dallas to Houston, Sept. 18-21, with stops in Denison, Carrolton, and
-- Eden Prairie (MN) to Bourbonnais (IL), Sept. 17-21, with stops in Sioux
Falls (SD) and Chicago
-- Bloomfield (CT) to Scranton (PA), Sept. 17-21, with stops in Jersey
City (NJ), Easton and Bethlehem (PA)
In addition to the scheduled stops, the riders will visit with individuals they meet along the way to engage people in ways to improve their health and encourage them to sign a commitment card to take better care of themselves. For more information about the Health Awareness Tour visit http://www.cigna.com/healthawarenesstour .
(1) New England Journal of Medicine, Volume 352, No. 11, March 17,2005,
(2) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for
Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, "Chronic Disease
Overview," as accessed at cdc.gov/nccdphp/overview.htm
CIGNA Corporation (NYSE: CI) and its subsidiaries, with total assets of $44 billion and an employee base of approximately 26,500, constitute one of the largest publicly-owned employee benefits organizations in the United States and throughout the world. Its subsidiaries are major providers of employee benefits offered through the workplace, with products and services including health care, group life, accident and disability insurance, dental, vision, behavioral health, and pharmacy.
|SOURCE CIGNA Healthcare|
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