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Independence Blue Cross Launches First Annual National Walk @ Lunch Day in Philadelphia
Date:4/27/2008

Thousands of employees in the Greater Philadelphia region join Americans

across the 50 states to walk for their health

PHILADELPHIA, April 28 /PRNewswire/ -- Independence Blue Cross (IBC) will host Philadelphia's first National Walk @ Lunch Day(SM) on Wednesday, April 30 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., encouraging Philadelphians to use their lunch break for walking, and demonstrating how easy it is to fit regular exercise into a busy lifestyle. IBC leads the charge to walk toward better health, as thousands of IBC associates and other Philadelphia workforce employees will walk around City Hall, joining tens of thousands across the country participating in this national event.

National Walk @ Lunch Day, sponsored by the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association is designed to engage employers everywhere to host lunchtime walks and promote the health benefits of physical activity during the business day. Participants will walk around City Hall three times in order to complete a 1.5-mile walk -burning an average of 122 calories*. It is estimated that collectively, the walkers circling City Hall on April 30 will burn nearly 500,000 total calories.

"Our mission is to help our members stay well and strengthen the well- being of our community. Our event, National Walk @ Lunch Day, accomplishes both of these objectives," said Joseph A. Frick, president and CEO at Independence Blue Cross. "The real reward for well-informed, active consumers is better health and fewer medical problems down the road. Walking is one of the simplest and safest forms of physical exercise, resulting in stronger health overall."

At noon, Mayor Michael Nutter will present a proclamation to IBC's president and CEO Joe Frick to commemorate this day as the City's inaugural participation in National Walk @ Lunch Day. Dick Vermeil, former coach for the Philadelphia Eagles, will share personal insight on how commitment to a fitness goal helped him to achieve desired results. Ben Franklin will also be on hand to talk about how Philadelphia, since its early days, has always been a city for walking. As part of the event, IBC's Wellness Van will be parked at City Hall to offer walkers and the public free health education, blood pressure checks, and body composition screenings on a first-come, first-served basis.

"Philadelphia is a wonderfully walkable city - one that lends itself to perfect lunchtime exercise from any vantage point," said Mayor Michael Nutter. "I am proud that we have such stunning architecture, terrific shopping, spring-blooming parks, and sights rich with beautiful history throughout Philadelphia. You could walk every day for a year and never need to repeat the same route. I encourage you to use this event as a kick-off for a regular lunchtime walk and enjoy all that Philadelphia has to offer by foot.."

"By making exercise part of a daily lunchtime routine, individuals can fit exercise into a very busy schedule," said Richard L. Snyder, M.D., senior vice president of Health Services at IBC. "The cost of treating illness and chronic disease caused by inactive lifestyles is significant. Getting just 30 minutes of physical activity, such as a brisk walk, five times a week has substantial health benefits, such as lowering the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, hypertension and type 2 diabetes. It can also improve the health of muscles, bones and joints."

In summing up the purpose of the event, Frick said, "We are proud to serve our customers and members every step of the way by offering programs like National Walk @ Lunch Day to assist them in reaching their goals to live healthier lives. We care about the wellness of our members because when people are healthy, everyone wins."

Frick added that because good health is the focus of IBC's business, IBC offers many programs like this to help members stay motivated to maintain good health and wellness, and to help them become informed consumers of health care.

IBC's Blue Crew volunteers will serve as the event staff for the walk. Blue Crew is made up of nearly 700 individuals who volunteer their time for dozens of events throughout the year. Blue Crew strengthens IBC's role as a business leader by involving all levels of associates in meaningful outreach programs that strengthen our community.

*Based on a 154-pound person.

Independence Blue Cross: Here for you every step of the way.

Independence Blue Cross is the leading health insurer in Southeastern Pennsylvania, providing coverage to nearly 3.4 million people. For 70 years, Independence Blue Cross and its affiliates have offered high-quality health care coverage tailored to meet the changing needs of members, employers, and health care professionals. Independence Blue Cross's HMO and PPO health care plans have consistently received the highest ratings from the National Committee for Quality Assurance. Independence Blue Cross is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, an association of independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans. For more information visit http://www.ibx.com.

Members of the media are invited to participate as walkers as part of this first-ever event at City Hall.


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SOURCE Independence Blue Cross
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