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Independence Blue Cross Signs on as Presenting Sponsor of American Diabetes Association's Step Out: Walk to Fight Diabetes in Philadelphia

Tuesday, August 19, 2008 General News J E 4
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PHILADELPHIA, Aug. 18 Independence Blue Cross (IBC) todayannounced that it is the presenting sponsor of the American DiabetesAssociation's (ADA's) Step Out: Walk to Fight Diabetes to be held inPhiladelphia on Saturday, October 4, 2008.

The new family- and team-friendly 5K fundraising walk will support theADA's aggressive efforts to stem the growing diabetes epidemic by fundingground-breaking research to find a cure and by actively supporting communityoutreach, education, and advocacy efforts. Philadelphia's Step Out is one ofmore than 180 walks planned across the nation this fall to raise more than $20million to fight diabetes. The goal in Philadelphia is to raise more than$400,000.

"We're pleased to help improve the health of our members and others withdiabetes by joining with our local American Diabetes Association as thepresenting sponsor of Step Out in Philadelphia," said Joseph A. Frick, IBC'spresident and CEO. "Step Out is a great way to inspire all of us to make ourhealth a priority, live a healthier lifestyle, understand our risk fordiabetes and how to prevent it, as well as how to better manage diabetes onceit's been diagnosed."

Everyone pays a price for diabetes

Diabetes is one of the most important health challenges facing the nationand the Philadelphia region. Nearly 24 million Americans have diabetes,including about six million who don't know they have it. Another 57 millionare estimated to have pre-diabetes, an early warning signal that alerts peopleto quickly take steps to avoid getting diabetes, such as eating healthier,exercising regularly, and reducing stress.

Diabetes takes a devastating toll on the Philadelphia area. About 11percent, or one in nine people here, have diabetes -- nearly three percenthigher than the national average.

The seventh leading cause of death by disease in the U.S., diabetes maylead to serious, life-threatening, and costly complications, such as heartdisease, blindness, kidney disease, and lower-limb amputation. Sadly, morethan 284,000 Americans and approximately 12,000 Pennsylvanians die each yearfrom complications like these.

Along with its human toll, diabetes is one of the nation's most costlydiseases, estimated at more than $174 billion annually -- $116 billion indirect costs for medical expenditures and another $58 billion in indirectcosts such as reduced productivity, disease-related disability, and increasedabsenteeism.

Presenting sponsor Independence Blue Cross

In a demonstration of their commitment to improve the health of thecommunity, hundreds of IBC employees will participate in the walk. As thepresenting sponsor, IBC is also urging its customers, members, participatinghospitals, physicians, and other local businesses to Step Out by forming acorporate team of their own. The ADA anticipates more than 2,000 walkers willparticipate in Step Out, and raise funds to support of the association'smission: to prevent and cure diabetes and to improve the lives of all peopleaffected by diabetes.

"I would like to thank IBC for joining us in our fight against diabetes,one of the most common chronic illnesses in the Philadelphia region," saidRussell Moore, ADA executive director of the southeastern Pennsylvania andsouthern New Jersey region. "Step Out is wonderful event for friends andcoworkers to come together and help raise money for a good cause. Each walkerand every dollar raised will bring us one step closer to a cure."

At Step Out October 4 and in the year-round fight against diabetes, theADA and IBC are here for you every step of the way. Be a part of the cure, andstart raising money today by registering for the Step Out walk athttp://www:diabetes.org/stepout or by calling 1-888-DIABETES.

About the American Diabetes Association

The American Diabetes Association is the nation's leading voluntary healthorg
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