Virginia Launches Healthy Lifestyle Competition for State Employees.

Virgina Governor Bob McDonnell today challenged more than 1,500 state employees to model living a healthy lifestyle by losing 10 pounds each in a 13-week team weight loss competition through the CommonHealth state employee wellness program.

The Governor introduced the healthy workforce campaign, the “Governor’s Challenge 2010,” during an Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield-sponsored talk by Bob Harper, health and fitness coach from “The Biggest Loser” NBC-TV show, at the Greater Richmond Convention Center.  Employees at 50 agency sites around the Commonwealth also participated via a videoconference courtesy of ValueOptions, Inc., which administers the state health plan’s behavioral health benefits.

“Why should you and I care about being healthy?” Governor McDonnell asked the state employee audience.  “We should care because of our family and friends. They depend on us and so does the Commonwealth. We should care because we want to be here and healthy for our spouses, children and grandchildren yet to come.”

Open to all state employees, the Governor’s weight loss competition will begin on Feb. 15 and end in mid-May.

C. Burke King, president, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Virginia, said, “We are happy to bring Bob Harper to Richmond to deliver a motivational message and help kick off this great initiative. It’s promising to see more and more of our customers understand the benefits and importance of living a healthy lifestyle. We’re proud to partner with Governor McDonnell and the Commonwealth in setting the standard for others to follow.”

During the healthy workforce initiative, employees will compete in four-person teams and weigh in weekly, with support and encouragement from more than 700 CommonHealth state agency coordinators throughout Virginia. Final results will be reported and total weight loss posted on May 19, National Employee Health and Fitness Day.  The Governor will recognize the winners in June.

The Commonwealth has become a model employer among the states in advancing healthy lifestyles.  It was a leader in offering free wellness and preventive care benefits to employees and family members covered in state health plans. State employees last year lost a total of 24,000 pounds in a state partnership with Weight Watchers. In addition,  CommonHealth over almost a quarter century has initiated successful programs in areas such as smoking cessation, weight management, fitness and stress reduction.

SOURCE Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Virginia

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