Blue Shield of California Recognized as an American Heart Association Fit-Friendly Company

Name: Angenette Lau

Title: Corporate Communications Specialist

Phone: 415-229-5150

Email: angenette.lau@blueshieldca.com

Blue Shield of California has been recognized as a Platinum-Level Fit Friendly Company by the American Heart Association's initiative for helping employees eat better and move more. The San Francisco-based health plan has been recognized as a Fit-Friendly Company for the fourth straight year and has achieved the highest tier of recognition - Platinum - for the third consecutive year.

The company also received the association's Worksite Fitness Innovation Award for Shape Up Shield, a social media fueled, team-based physical activity program. Employees were encouraged to form teams, track their activity and compete with other teams using the online, mobile-enabled platform. As a result, 130 teams made up of 1,200 employees participated and walked over 400 million steps. Shape Up Shield is an example of how Blue Shield's wellness program, Wellvolution, uses social media to help promote healthy habits.

"We know that wellness is the key to better health and to lowering health costs, and we believe that it starts with our employees. As a mission-based health plan, we are always seeking and developing innovative programs that promote wellness and make health care more affordable," said Marianne Jackson, senior vice president for human resources at Blue Shield of California. "We are honored to be recognized by the American Heart Association for our innovative approach to driving engagement and advancing a culture of health."

Platinum-level employers:

  • Offer employees physical activity options in the workplace
  • Increase healthy eating options at the worksite
  • Promote a wellness culture in the workplace
  • Implement at least nine criteria outlined by the American Heart Association in the areas of physical activity, nutrition and culture
  • Demonstrate measurable outcomes related to workplace wellness

The Fit-Friendly Companies Program is a catalyst for positive change in the American workforce by helping companies make their employees' health and wellness a priority.

American employers face increasing healthcare expenses and health-related losses in productivity that cost an estimated $225.8 billion a year. Many American adults spend most of their waking hours at sedentary jobs. Their lack of regular physical activity raises their risk for a host of medical problems, such as obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes. Employers face $12.7 billion in annual medical expenses due to obesity alone. The program helps change corporate cultures by motivating employees to start walking, which has the lowest dropout rate of any physical activity.


Background on Blue Shield of California

Blue Shield of California, an independent member of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, is a not-for-profit health plan with 3.3 million members, 4,800 employees, and one of the largest provider networks in California. Founded in 1939 and headquartered in San Francisco, Blue Shield of California offers a wide range of commercial and government products throughout the state. The company has contributed more than $125 million over the past four years to the Blue Shield of California Foundation - which was named one of BusinessWeek's top 20 most generous corporate foundations. Contact your local agent or broker for more information about Blue Shield products and services, or visit the Blue Shield web site at www.blueshieldca.com.

About the American Heart Association
The American Heart Association is devoted to saving people from heart disease and stroke - America's No. 1 and No. 4 killers. We team with millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, fight for stronger public health policies, and provide lifesaving tools and information to prevent and treat these diseases. The Dallas-based association is the nation's oldest and largest voluntary organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke. To learn more or join us, call 1-800-AHA-USA1 or any of our offices around the country, or visit heart.org.