SOURCE: Virgin HealthMiles

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March 15, 2010 11:07 ET

Virgin HealthMiles, the STOP Obesity Alliance and the Institute for Health and Productivity Management Join Forces to Sponsor Second Annual "National Employee Wellness Month" This June

Month-Long Awareness Campaign and Awards Program Designed to Rally Corporate America to Create Healthier Workplaces and Tackle Out-of-Control Healthcare Costs

BOSTON, MA and WASHINGTON, DC and SCOTTSDALE, AZ--(Marketwire - March 15, 2010) - Today, Virgin HealthMiles, in partnership with the Strategies to Overcome and Prevent (STOP) Obesity Alliance and the Institute for Health and Productivity Management (IHPM), announced they will sponsor the second annual National Employee Wellness Month this June to raise awareness about the benefits of workplace wellness and educate business leaders and employees about how they can take steps to create healthier and more physically active workplace communities and lower overall healthcare costs.

As part of June's National Employee Wellness Month, Virgin HealthMiles bestows its "Eye on Wellness" awards, which recognize both a company and an individual who advocate wellness and serve as role models for others. Nominations can be submitted online between March 15, 2010 and April 15, 2010. Companies and individuals wishing to learn more about the 2010 Eye on Wellness awards or becoming involved in National Employee Wellness Month can visit www.nationalemployeewellnessmonth.com for more details.

Forward-looking businesses have recognized they can't afford to wait for the outcome of the Washington healthcare debate and must implement immediate measures to help curb spiraling healthcare costs. According to a report from the Kaiser Family Foundation, U.S. businesses are already absorbing 70-80 percent of annual health care cost increases, which continue to rise nearly 10% per annum. Curbing this trend will be essential to the long-term stability of our economy.

With three quarters of our $1.5 trillion healthcare costs going toward preventable, lifestyle-driven chronic conditions, taking steps to create a healthier workforce only makes sense for employers and employees alike. A 2007 report published in The New England Journal of Medicine points to the connection between the spread of obesity and an individual's social ties. The workplace has the potential to serve as a critical community and change agent for helping employees become more physically active.

According to the STOP Obesity Alliance, the workplace is one important environment that could be better leveraged to fight obesity. In fact, a 2008 survey by the STOP Obesity Alliance and the National Opinion Research Center found that employers and employees agree that the workplace is an appropriate environment for supporting weight loss efforts and helping curb the toll of preventable chronic diseases.

For more information about National Employee Wellness Month, contact Kathy Wilson at kwilson@tieronepr.com or 781-652-0499.

About Virgin HealthMiles, the STOP Obesity Alliance and the Institute for Health and Productivity Management

Virgin HealthMiles is an industry leading provider of employee health and activity programs that pay people to get active. Its award-winning, Pay-for-Prevention™ approach, based on physical activity and healthy lifestyle change, attracts an average of 40% of employees who participate in the program regularly, which helps organizations reduce medical costs and improve employee productivity and satisfaction.

The Strategies to Overcome and Prevent (STOP) Obesity Alliance is a collaboration of consumer, provider, government, labor, business, health insurers and quality-of-care organizations united to drive innovative and practical strategies that combat obesity. The Strategies to Overcome and Prevent (STOP) Obesity Alliance receives funding from founding sponsor, sanofi-aventis U.S. LLC, and supporting sponsors, Allergan, Inc. and Amylin Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

The Institute for Health and Productivity Management (IHPM) is a global research and development enterprise devoted to establishing the value of health in the workplace as a human capital investment that improves business performance. IHPM holds conferences around the world, conducts Academies, publishes a quarterly magazine and a peer-reviewed journal, and conducts field projects -- including several on obesity and related cardio-metabolic health risks. It works with all the stakeholders -- employers and their employees, health service providers, health plans, pharmaceutical manufacturers and governments -- to advance health and productivity management as a strategy for economic competitiveness.

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