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S.C. BlueCross to Celebrate Third Annual National Walk @ Lunch Day With Community Events in Columbia, Charleston, Greenville

COLUMBIA, S.C., March 2 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina announced today that the third annual National Walk @ Lunch Day(R) will be held during lunchtime hours on Wednesday, April 29, 2009.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies across the country, as well as other employers, will encourage their employees to wear comfortable shoes to work that day and participate in a 30-minute lunchtime walk. The goal of National Walk @ Lunch Day is to encourage people to take time regularly during their lunch breaks to start walking toward better health.

BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina will celebrate the day by holding community walks that are open to the public and free of charge at the Statehouse in Columbia, Marion Square Park in Charleston, and Falls Park in Greenville. Groups and individuals are invited to walk during those events, which are open from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m.

S.C. BlueCross also will hold walks for its employees at its offices, and it has posters, fliers and other materials available to help other organizations promote successful workplace walks. Those seeking information on planning a walk should call BlueCross' Glenn Niemiec at 803-264-4612.

The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association created National Walk @ Lunch Day to encourage Americans to live healthier lives by incorporating walking into their daily activities. Last year, the event drew tens of thousands of participants in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.

Most Americans' schedules are built around their workdays, so lunchtime walks are designed to fit into -- not compete with -- their daily routine.

"Lunchtime walks are a great way for busy, working Americans to make time for exercise," said David Pankau, president of BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina's BlueCross BlueShield Division. "Just a few minutes of walking every day can become part of a healthy lifestyle that lowers the risk of serious health problems."

National Walk @ Lunch Day is a component of WalkingWorks(R), a Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association physical activity program that helps Americans live healthier lives and reduce unnecessary medical costs due to physical inactivity. WalkingWorks was developed in partnership with the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimates that the cost to treat illness and chronic disease caused by inactive lifestyles is nearly $1,000 for every family in America, every year. Simply getting 30 minutes of moderate physical activity, such as a brisk walk, at least five times a week has significant health benefits, including lowering the risk of developing or dying from cardiovascular disease, hypertension and type 2 diabetes, and improving the health of muscles, bones and joints. [Source: Physical Activity and Health, A Report of the Surgeon General, 1996.]

Headquartered in Columbia, S.C., BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina and its family of companies include more than 20 subsidiaries involved in health insurance services, U.S. DOD health plan and Medicare contracts, and other insurance and employee benefits services.

SOURCE BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina
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