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The Blues, hospitals partner for employee fitness contest

By  - 1/8/2013 3:03:23 PM

Rochester’s hospitals and Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, in a partnership with the American Heart Association, launched a fitness contest among its employees.

Representatives from the University of Rochester's Strong Memorial and Highland hospitals, Rochester General Hospital, Unity Hospital and the Blues kicked off “WalkingWorks” Monday.

“A friendly competition among some of the largest employers in Rochester is a great way to educate up to 10 percent of the local work force on how regular exercise can help protect people from some of the most serious chronic health issues,” said Excellus chief financial officer Dorothy Coleman.

One in three area adults has high blood pressure, one in 10 has type 1 or type 2 diabetes and roughly two-thirds are obese or overweight, Coleman added.

Employees who choose to participate in the contest will earn points for their organization by walking for exercise at their work locations and elsewhere. They will log their progress using an online tracking tool, culminating in a weekly leader.

The leading organization each week will receive raffle prizes to offer its employees. At the end of the six-week competition, the organization with the highest average exercise rate among its employees will be announced the winner.  

The Rochester chapter of the American Heart Association is helping the project by mapping walking trails.

“WalkingWorks gives participants an easy and fun way to start exercising regularly, track their progress and see results,” said Amanda Shanahan, a registered dietitian and a corporate wellness program manager at Excellus.

The hospitals are funding the six-week program, including the purchase of many of the prizes. Fleet Feet Sports is offering employees fitness education and donating prizes, along with the Spa at the Del Monte in Pittsford.

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