SOURCE: Virgin HealthMiles

Virgin HealthMiles

March 05, 2009 14:49 ET

Governor Butch Otter Leads Idaho to "Most Active Governor's Team" in Nation Title in Virgin HealthMiles' Capitol Steps Challenge

Virgin HealthMiles Awards Idaho $55,000 for Childhood Obesity Prevention Program

BOSTON, MA--(Marketwire - March 5, 2009) - The team led by Idaho Governor Butch Otter was today declared the "Most Active Governor's Team" in the nation and the winner of the Capitol Steps Challenge, a two-week fitness competition between 14 U.S. governors and their executive teams. Challenge sponsor Virgin HealthMiles, a leader in developing employee wellness programs that reward individuals for getting healthy, has donated $55,000 to benefit Idaho's childhood obesity prevention program in recognition of the state achieving this distinction. From January 1 - 14, governors and their executive teams from Alabama, Alaska, California, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, North Dakota, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin joined together to lead by example and raise awareness of the correlation between increased activity levels and good health. Collectively, these 14 states tracked their daily activity for two weeks and walked a total of 63,341,550 steps or 31,671 miles to encourage all Americans to become more physically active.

The competition between the Capitol Steps Challenge states was intense, with some participants repeatedly logging 15 miles or 30,000 steps a day. Alaska's team led by Governor Sarah Palin had the most participants achieving over 30,000 steps per day. Additionally, Governor John Hoeven's team from North Dakota took the lead in the Challenge's first competition with 74% of participants taking 7,000 or more steps over the first weekend of the Challenge. However, it was Idaho Governor Butch Otter's team that stepped its way to the Capitol Steps Challenge's first place title by walking an average of 226,240 steps, or 113 miles, per participant over that two week period.

"Idaho chose to participate in the Capitol Steps Challenge because it was the first time governors have united in a national effort to raise awareness about the impact obesity has on our personal health and the burden it puts our national healthcare system," said Governor Otter. "As obesity rates continue to rise at alarming rates and the cost of treating obesity-related diseases and lost productivity climbs to approximately $122.9 billion a year, it's imperative that we, as leaders, walk the walk. We were impressed by how easily the Challenge helped us become more aware of our daily physical activity levels and kept participants motivated and focused on staying active."

"We congratulate the dedication that each of these 14 governors and their Capitol Steps Challenge teams put into this initiative," said Chris Boyce, CEO of Virgin HealthMiles. "Incredibly, in two short weeks, these teams collectively walked more miles than the circumference of the earth. We commend Idaho for their outstanding performance and view all participating states as winners for literally stepping up to this challenge and leading by example about the value of increased physical activity on wellness."

Additional top performing states in the Challenge included teams led by Governors Sarah Palin of Alaska, Mitch Daniels of Indiana, and Rick Perry of Texas. Teams including California and North Dakota also finished well in the Challenge.

Each participating Capitol Steps Challenge state, including Idaho, is receiving an additional $5,000 donation from Virgin HealthMiles in recognition of the role it took in raising awareness of the relation between increased physical activity and obesity prevention. This money will be earmarked to benefit state childhood obesity prevention programs.

For more information about the Capitol Steps Challenge, visit www.virginhealthmiles.com/capitolstepschallenge.

About Virgin HealthMiles

Virgin HealthMiles provides employee health programs that pay people to get active. The company's preventative approach, based on physical activity and healthy lifestyle change, attracts an average of 40% of employees who participate, which helps organizations reduce medical costs and improve employee productivity and satisfaction. Over 100 industry leaders, including American Diabetes Association/Shaping America's Health, APL Limited, Hospital Corporation of America-Shared Services, Jack in the Box, Louisville Metro Government, and Shands Jacksonville Medical Center, have selected Virgin HealthMiles' award-winning program for their employees. For more information, visit www.virginhealthmiles.com.

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