PHILADELPHIA, Sept. 5 It's possible that thisgeneration of Americans may, on average, live less healthy and possibly evenshorter lives than their parents if the problem of obesity isn't effectivelyaddressed (1). What's more, chronic diseases account for seven out of every10 deaths and affect the quality of life of more than 90 million Americans(2). In an effort to bring attention to these alarming trends and helpreverse them, CIGNA today announced the 2007 CIGNA Health Awareness Tour. Thetour is designed to engage people across the nation in taking a more activerole in living a healthy lifestyle.
From September 10 through September 21, more than 80 CIGNA employees fromlocations across the country will be riding in seven coordinated, five-daybicycle tours, each averaging 426 miles. The riders will be stopping in 30cities along the routes to share their own personal stories and bring themessage of health and hope to thousands of CIGNA employees and their families,as well as the company's clients, members and the general public, throughparticipation in community-wide events and one-on-one conversations.
"Through the personal example and outreach of CIGNA's employees, we hopeto encourage more Americans to take an active role in reaching their own besthealth," said David Cordani, president of CIGNA HealthCare, who will be ridingin several of the tours. "CIGNA's member-focused health advocacy programs,employer workplace wellness initiatives and consultative approach with clientshave proven that reaching out, one person at a time, can make a realdifference. Extending our message into the broader community with the CIGNAHealth Awareness Tour is simply a continuation of our commitment to wellness,"added Cordani.
Chris McSwain, Director, Compensation & Benefits of SCANA Corporation,participated in the 2005 Health Awareness Tour. "My participation in theHealth Awareness Tour came at a pivotal time in the history of ourorganization's attack on the health care and productivity issues that mostAmerican companies face. The commitment I saw on the ride encouraged me tocontinue to pursue our health and wellness approach to health care," saidMcSwain.
Under McSwain's guidance, SCANA has created an award-winning healthimprovement program for the more than 5,000 associates and family members ofSCANA Corporation. Through programs such as the LiveWell Resource Center whichintegrates on-site pharmacy, wellness and behavioral health with the on-siteMobile Medical Unit, SCANA has been able to improve productivity and healthoutcomes, reduce absences, and improve the health of the SCANA family whilebeing able to hold employee medical premiums flat for three consecutive years.
Walt DeArmitt, owner of Walt's Cafe in Huntingdon, Penn., is anotherHealth Awareness Tour success story. In 2005, the riders stopped at hisrestaurant and explained their mission and some ideas DeArmitt could implementto improve his own health. Shortly after that meeting, DeArmitt washospitalized as a result of his health condition. After his release, hecommitted to making the dietary and lifestyle changes the riders had talkedwith him about. Two years later, he has lost almost 200 pounds, overcomediabetes and changed his restaurant menu to include healthier options, therebycreating his own "community of health" with his patrons. The 2005 HealthAwareness Tour T-shirt hangs on his wall as a reminder of what a differencethis visit made in one person's life.
Gary Earl, senior vice president at CIGNA HealthCare and founder of theHealth Awareness Tour said, "Although many people do have a basicunderstanding of the value of living a healthy lifestyle, there are oftenobstacles preventing them from doing so. In some cases, peopleenthusiastically attempt to go from a sedentary lifestyle to starting anoverly strenuous exercise regimen, only to become exhausted, discouraged