From: Paul Schaefer, ENN
Published August 18, 2007 07:44 PM

Minnisota Blue Cross Funds Workplace-Exercise Program

Eagan, Minnisota. - 15 Minnesota workplaces that will receive funding to spur exercise in the workplace. It's part of a program called "Prevention Minnesota Active Workplaces", funded by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota. The idea is to create long-term health improvement to prevent heart disease and cancers by addressing their root causes -- physical inactivity, unhealthy eating and tobacco use.

The Active Workplaces funding enables small and mid-size employers to create programs such as a sustained walking program or creating company policies that help employees increase their physical activity levels during the work day.

These employers represent a broad range of public, private, for-profit and not-for-profit sectors. Each will receive a three-year contract ranging from $25,000 to $100,000 depending on number of employees. The selected employers are:

* Anoka County Government Center

* City of Apple Valley


* Data Recognition Corporation (Maple Grove, Minn.)

* Educational Credit Management Corporation (St. Paul, Minn.)

* ELCA Board of Pensions (Minneapolis, Minn.)

* Fairview Range Regional Health Services (Hibbing, Minn.)

* Girl Scout Council of Greater Minneapolis

* Independent School District #876 (Annandale, Minn.)

* Kraus-Anderson Companies, Inc. (Minneapolis, Minn.)

* Landscape Structures Inc. (Delano, Minn.)

* League of MN Cities (St. Paul, Minn.)

* Meritcare Bemidji

* Minnesota Chippewa Tribe (Cass Lake, Minn.)

* Northwestern Health Sciences University (Bloomington, Minn.)

* White Earth Reservation Tribal Council (White Earth, Minn.)

Blue Cross will also provide consultation services to help employers implement proven interventions that will effectively promote physical activity in the workplace.

"Physical inactivity and unhealthy eating combined are the second-leading causes of preventable death and disease in the United States and have a direct impact on health care costs," said Marc Manley, M.D., vice president and medical director of population health at Blue Cross. "Because people spend so much time at work, it's encouraging to see employers' heightened commitment to creating workplace environments that promote health."

The Active Workplaces funding complements Prevention Minnesota's other physical activity initiatives such as the Blue Cross' do Campaign and Fittest State in the Nation. It also complements Active Community Planning funding, which helps cities design their communities to encourage walking and biking. Encouraging physical activity and healthy eating can help prevent chronic diseases and conditions such as heart disease, stroke, colon cancer, and diabetes.

"Our Active Workplaces funding helps build leadership in Minnesota's workplaces and starts paving the way toward improving employee health," added Manley. "We're thrilled to offer assistance to these committed organizations throughout the state as they work to prevent the risk factors that contribute to some of the most costly diseases."

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