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At least one health insurer is practicing what it preaches. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee, confronted with evidence that more than half of its employees were obese, implemented an aggressive, incentive-laden wellness program aimed at helping workers become healthier.  

It’s the type of program that insurers such as Blue Cross have been encouraging businesses to adopt as a way to lower health care costs. Among the conventional measures that Blue Cross put in place at its campus in Chattanooga:  

  • Prohibited smoking on campus

  • Opened an on-site fitness center and created walking trails around campus

  • Offered healthier options in cafeteria

  • Raised prices with a “sin tax” on burgers, fries and pizza

However, the company reports that perhaps the most effective idea was encouraging employees to walk more by giving them pedometers to track their steps. Workers were urged to walk between 5,000 and 10,000 steps a day.  

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Jack Craver

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