SOURCE: Medica

April 06, 2005 12:45 ET

12,000 Minnesotans Pledge to Shape Up Over the Next Six Weeks

Annual Worksite Wellness Campaign Encourages Fitness, Nutrition, Healthy Behaviors

MINNETONKA, MN -- (MARKET WIRE) -- April 6, 2005 -- More than 12,000 Minnesotans have pledged to improve their health over the next six weeks. The annual Shape Up Challenge is a worksite wellness campaign created by the American Heart Association. This is the third year Medica has offered the health promotion program to its employer groups and 150 groups are participating, up 30 percent over last year.

The friendly competition encourages people to eat healthy foods, increase their activity level and engage in other healthy behaviors such as stress reduction. Participants earn points for each healthy behavior and are eligible for prizes. Employers are offering additional incentives, ranging from yoga classes and walking groups, to healthy snacks and scavenger hunts. While many of the activities encourage fun in the workplace, employers say they're also looking for the program to help them control rising health care costs, by encouraging their employees to engage in healthier lifestyles.

Participating groups include large and small companies, non-profit groups, school districts, government employees and others. Some organizations have 100% of their workers taking part in the challenge. The campaign is designed to run for six weeks because studies show new behaviors take six weeks to become habits. Over the past three years, many of the activities that started with the Shape Up Challenge have become part of the culture of some companies. Some companies now host Wednesday walking groups year round. Others now offer a weekly salad lunch. The 2005 Shape Up Challenge runs from April 4 through May 15, 2005.

About Medica

Medica (www.medica.com) is Minnesota's largest HMO, largest PPO and leading non-profit and independent provider of health plans. Medica has 1.2 million members and 24,000 providers in a regional health care network service area that includes 98 percent of Minnesotans and a growing number of adjoining counties in Wisconsin, North Dakota and South Dakota. It opened a Duluth regional office in 1996. Medica also offers national network coverage to employers who also have employees outside the Medica regional network.

Medica has the highest accreditation status, Excellent, from the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA®) for its Minnesota and North Dakota Medicaid HMO plans and commercial health plans. Medica's vision is to become the community's health plan of choice, trusted for its integrity, respected for its service, and admired for its commitment to innovation and efficiency.

Contact Information

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