SOURCE: Virgin HealthMiles

Virgin HealthMiles

July 07, 2010 10:00 ET

Twenty Thousand Employees Walk Equivalent of 80 Times Around the Globe During June's Second Annual National Employee Wellness Month to Promote Workplace Wellness

U.S. Employees Walk Nearly Four Billion Steps Over Three Weeks; Ohio and Pennsylvania-Based Fyda Freightliner Defends Title as Challenge Winner for Second Consecutive Year

BOSTON, MA--(Marketwire - July 7, 2010) -  This past June, more than 20,000 U.S. employees representing over 80 companies walked the equivalent of roughly two million miles, or 80 times around the globe, as part of the National Employee Wellness Month Challenge. The initiative, created by Virgin HealthMiles, a leading provider of employee health and productivity programs that pay people to get active, spotlighted the importance of workplace wellness and employee health. Ohio and Pennsylvania-based freightliner dealership Fyda Freightliner led the pack for the second consecutive year and defended its first place title with employees taking an average of more than 290,000 steps throughout the challenge. In recognition of its first place finish, Fyda Freightliner will receive a $1,000 donation from Virgin HealthMiles to a charity of its choice.

Sponsored by Virgin HealthMiles, the Strategies to Overcome and Prevent (STOP) Obesity Alliance and the Institute for Health and Productivity Management, June's second annual National Employee Wellness Month raised awareness of how prevention in the workplace can help to improve employees' health and reduce rising healthcare costs. Challenge participants walked an average of approximately 92 miles in three weeks, averaging more than 8,300 steps per day, per employee. 

"The momentum National Employee Wellness Month and our corporate steps challenge generated this year is truly inspiring," said Chris Boyce, CEO of Virgin HealthMiles. "In one year, our annual challenge grew in size by more than 3,500 employees, which led to an approximate one billion increase in total steps taken. This impressive growth in participation reflects a real acknowledgement of the value of corporate wellness programs. It's also an excellent example of how employers and employees can be a powerful support system and successfully motivate each other to be more active and focus on improving their health, while helping to lower healthcare costs for businesses."

Fyda Freightliner's employees, which include mechanics, administrators and sales representatives, stepped their way to first place in the challenge by averaging more than 13,000 steps, or approximately 6.5 miles, per employee per day throughout the three-week competition. For the second year in a row, the battle for second and third place took place a few states away in Wisconsin. The Sheboygan Area School District took second place averaging more than 280,000 steps and the School District of Menomonie Area secured third place averaging more than 265,000 steps. 

"At Fyda Freightliner, we couldn't be prouder to again be named the National Employee Wellness Month Challenge champion," said Patty DePaola, controller of Fyda Freightliner. "This fun challenge successfully united our company under the important mission of becoming healthier and more active. Once again, we rose to the challenge, and we're excited to continue to set an example for corporate America about the power of workplace wellness and the importance of getting up and active."

About National Employee Wellness Month
National Employee Wellness Month is an annual initiative designed to raise public awareness about the benefits of workplace wellness and how prevention in the workplace can help to improve health and combat our nation's rising healthcare costs. Learn more at www.nationalemployeewellnessmonth.com.

About Virgin HealthMiles
Virgin HealthMiles provides employee health programs that pay people to get active. The company's Pay-for-Prevention™ approach, based on physical activity and healthy lifestyle change, attracts an average of 40 percent of employees who participate, which helps organizations reduce medical costs and improve employee productivity and satisfaction. The program is offered by employers, government entities, and insurers. Over 120 industry leaders representing more than 500,000 employees across the U.S., including American Diabetes Association, Commonwealth of Kentucky, Hospital Corporation of America-Shared Services, Shands Jacksonville Medical Center, and SunGard, have selected Virgin HealthMiles' award-winning program for their employees. The company is a member of Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Group. For more information, visit www.virginhealthmiles.com.

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