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WellPoint Teams up with Bob Harper from 'The Biggest Loser' to Expand Efforts Aimed at Improving Individuals' Health
Date:6/29/2009

Research shows individual health choices directly influence the health and well-being of friends and family

INDIANAPOLIS, June 29 /PRNewswire/ -- WellPoint, Inc. (NYSE: WLP), the nation's largest health benefits company by medical membership, today announced it has teamed up with Bob Harper from "The Biggest Loser" to expand current efforts to provide the tools and information necessary to help individuals improve their health and be a positive influence on the ones they care about. Through this collaboration, WellPoint and Bob Harper will work together to highlight how our health connects us and how one person's healthy behaviors can positively affect someone else's health behaviors.

"WellPoint is pleased to work with Bob Harper to create a movement that starts with each individual and extends to their friends, family and coworkers," said Dijuana Lewis, president and chief executive officer of WellPoint's Comprehensive Health Solutions business unit. "Bob Harper's approach to wellness is based on the powerful insight that healthy living isn't about a quick fix, it's about making a lifestyle change. We recognize that our health is connected with, and part of, our everyday lives. We want to help people get healthy, stay healthy and have a healthy impact on the health care system itself."

"Whether we realize it or not, when we are around others who eat healthy and model healthy behaviors, we begin to follow," said Bob Harper. "Expanding this into a more formal, conscious effort can help each of us become role models for others in our lives. For any person who's ever tried to quit smoking, lose weight, eat healthier or adopt a more active lifestyle, knowing you will also have an impact on others can be a powerful motivator. By working together with WellPoint, we hope to provide the information and tools to help millions across the country live healthy lives."

According to a recent report* released by the WellPoint Institute of Health Care Knowledge, an individual's health choices directly influence the health and well-being of family members, friends and others in his or her social network. The report looked at two specific studies by Harvard's Nicholas Christakis, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H., and the University of California, San Diego's James Fowler, Ph.D., about communities in which individuals with close ties demonstrated significant corollaries with obesity and smoking cessation. The studies cited in the report show that a person's:

  • Likelihood to quit smoking increased by 67 percent if her or his spouse quit smoking; 36 percent if a friend quit smoking; 24 percent if a coworker quit smoking; and 25 percent if a sibling quit smoking.
  • Chance of becoming obese increased by 57 percent if that person's close friend became obese. Further, a person's chance of becoming obese rose by 71 percent if a close friend of the same sex became obese; 40 percent if an adult sibling became obese; and 37 percent if his or her spouse became obese.

WellPoint has developed an innovative tool to help individuals calculate the impact their behaviors have on their health and on the health of their social network. By answering a few simple questions, individuals can receive a score and calculate that impact with tools available on WellPoint's affiliated health plan Web sites.

*For more information on the WellPoint Institute of Health Care Knowledge or a copy of the full report, please visit www.wellpoint.com/institute.

About WellPoint, Inc.

WellPoint works to simplify the connection between Health, Care and Value. We help to improve the health of our communities, deliver better care to members, and provide greater value to our customers and shareholders. WellPoint is the nation's largest health benefits company, with approximately 35 million members in its affiliated health plans. As an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, WellPoint serves members as the Blue Cross licensee for California; the Blue Cross and Blue Shield licensee for Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Missouri (excluding 30 counties in the Kansas City area), Nevada, New Hampshire, New York (as the Blue Cross Blue Shield licensee in 10 New York City metropolitan and surrounding counties and as the Blue Cross or Blue Cross Blue Shield licensee in selected upstate counties only), Ohio, Virginia (excluding the Northern Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C.), Wisconsin; and through UniCare. Additional information about WellPoint is available at www.wellpoint.com.


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SOURCE WellPoint, Inc.
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