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Blue Cross Honors Staffers Who Went the Extra Mile

Four performers who took the extra step in the Capitol Hill Challenge have been recognized by Blue Cross Blue Shield.

The four honorees successfully completed and submitted their logs for a six-week WalkingWorks program, part of the Capitol Hill Challenge, which the Congressional Fitness Caucus and Blue Cross Blue Shield Plans launched June 26 in an effort to encourage fitness and healthier living.

Fourteen Congressmen and nearly 2,000 federal employees signed up to participate in the challenge to walk 10,000 steps a day, five days a week, for six weeks this summer.

“The aim of the challenge was to raise awareness,” said John Parker, spokesman for Blue Cross Blue Shield Plans. “We’re hopeful that the challenge spurred people to think about and to pursue a more active lifestyle.”

Each of the four top performers received a Presidential Active Lifestyle Award from the President’s Council of Fitness and Sports.

The four performers recognized for their accomplishments are Laura Parker from the office of the Senate Sergeant-at-Arms, Juliet Bender of the Commerce Department, Alise Orloff of the U.S. Capitol staff, and Kerry McKenney of Rep. Donald Payne’s (D-N.J.) office.

“I was surprised that the miles added up so quickly,” McKenney said. “I would say it [added up to] about 200 miles.

The Capitol Hill Challenge began with a kickoff event where each person who signed up received a pedometer, which tracks the number of steps taken, and a T-shirt. Blue Cross handed out more than 2,000 pedometers. Blue Cross Blue Shield Plans provides subsidized pedometers at its Web site,

Blue Cross created the WalkingWorks program to encourage Americans to walk daily for at least 30 minutes to control weight, lower cholesterol and strengthen the heart. The Capitol Hill Challenge was the formal launch of the program, which will be extended across the nation.

“CareFirst in Maryland did [WalkingWorks] with their own employees,” Parker said. “Thirty-five hundred signed up [and] made a commitment to be more physically fit and try to incorporate more walking in their lives.

Among the Members of Congress who participated in the challenge were Rep. Zach Wamp (R-Tenn.) and Mark Udall (D-Colo.), the founders and co-sponsors of the Congressional Fitness Caucus. The caucus was created in February with the mission statement to “increase awareness and promote the benefits of physical activity to overall health and fitness.”

There are 92 members in the caucus, including Rep. John Spratt (D-S.C.), assistant to the leader in the Democratic House leadership. Four of the members, not including Wamp and Udall, participated in the challenge.

“WalkingWorks does work and there are more and more people embracing this,” Wamp said. “We’re promoting America on the move.”

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