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Independence Blue Cross recognized as an American Heart Association Fit-Friendly Worksite

PHILADELPHIA, June 30, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Independence Blue Cross (Independence) has been recognized as a Platinum-Level Fit-Friendly Worksite by the American Heart Association for championing the health of its associates by creating programs that encourage healthy eating and physical activity.

"At Independence, our associates are our most important asset, and it is our goal to empower them by providing the tools they need to stay engaged and on the path to good health," said Dr. Richard Snyder, Independence's SVP and chief medical officer. "We're honored to be recognized by the American Heart Association as a Platinum-Level Fit-Friendly Worksite, and we remain committed to providing the best working environment possible."

Platinum-level employers:

  • Offer employees physical activity options in the workplace;
  • Increase healthy eating options at the worksite;
  • Promote a wellness culture in the workplace;
  • Implement multiple programs in the areas of physical activity, nutrition, and culture;
  • Demonstrate measurable outcomes related to workplace wellness.

In 2014, Independence launched a multi-year associate wellness plan designed to help the company's employees achieve their health and wellness goals. The insurer's Be Active and Be Nourished campaigns promote healthy living in fun, creative, and practical ways, such as:

  • One Billion Steps ChallengeA walking program that offers a unique Race Around the World component and prizes.
  • Associate wellness seminars and program seriesDiverse topics include Eat Right for Life, Nutrition for Performance, Eat Pretty, Learn to Love Organic Gardening, Mindful Energy Management, and Sitting is the New Smoking.
  • Onsite nutrition counselingA registered dietitian is available at multiple Independence locations, and six visits per year are free for associates with an Independence health plan.
  • Onsite fitness programmingFree onsite fitness classes offered before, during, and after work hours, including spinning, yoga, step, line dancing, and cardio and strength training.

The Fit-Friendly Worksites program promotes positive change in the American workforce by helping worksites support their employees' health and well-being. According to the American Heart Association, employers are losing an estimated $225.8 billion a year because of health care expenses and health-related losses in productivity, and those numbers are rising. Many American adults spend most of their waking hours at sedentary jobs. Their lack of regular physical activity raises their risk for a host of medical problems, such as obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes. Employers face $12.7 billion in annual medical expenses due to obesity alone. The American Heart Association is working to change corporate cultures by motivating employees to start walking, which has the lowest dropout rate of any physical activity.

For more information about the Fit-Friendly Worksites program and how it's helping to improve the health of Americans by focusing on the workplace, call (215) 575-5200 or visit heart.org/worksitewellness.

About Independence Blue Cross

Independence Blue Cross is the leading health insurance organization in southeastern Pennsylvania. With our affiliates, we serve nearly 10 million people in 24 states and the District of Columbia, including 2.5 million in the region. For nearly 80 years, we have been enhancing the health and wellness of the people and communities we serve by delivering innovative and competitively priced health care products and services; pioneering new ways to reward doctors, hospitals, and other health care professionals for coordinated, quality care; and supporting programs and events that promote wellness. To learn more, visit www.ibx.com. Connect with us on Facebook at ibx.com/facebook and on Twitter at @ibx. Independence Blue Cross is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.

About the American Heart Association

The American Heart Association is devoted to building healthier lives, free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke. Our mission drives everything we do. To improve the lives of all Americans, we provide public health education in a variety of ways. We team with millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, fight for stronger public health policies, and provide lifesaving tools and information to prevent and treat these diseases. The Dallas-based association is the nation's oldest and largest voluntary organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke. To learn more or join us, call 1-800-AHA-USA1 or any of our offices around the country, or visit heart.org.

CONTACT: Kathleen Conlon 215-241-4576 (office) Kathleen.Conlon@ibx.com

Source:Independence Blue Cross