Humana associates step it up in 100-Day Dash

Humana associates logged about 7.2 billion steps during the annual 100-Day Dash.

Humana associates logged about 7.2 billion steps during the annual 100-Day Dash.

Humana’s dream of helping people achieve lifelong well-being has fostered a corporate culture where Humana associates are willing to take steps to improve their own health – about 7.2 billion steps.

Humana associates logged that many steps on their pedometers during Humana’s recent 100-Day Dash, an annual company-wide effort to encourage associates to literally walk the talk in terms of promoting health and well-being. Associates form and choose names for their own teams, competing for rewards such as Vitality Bucks for those enrolled in the HumanaVitality incentive program. Every competing associate wears a pedometer and uploads the results, which are tallied into individual, team and company totals.

Overall, associates averaged 9,330 steps per day while the dashers at the top of the 100-Day Dash leaderboard managed 30,000 per day. Chastity Palmer, a specialist for Humana subsidiary LifeSynch in Irving, Texas said, “Being a part of the 100-Day Dash motivates me to get moving!”

“Over those 100 days, we inspired each other’s health by coming together through this friendly competition,” said Tim Huval, Humana Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer. “Hearing the stories of how people are changing their lives – and enlisting their co-workers and families – is a great example of how we at Humana are living our values.”

From June 3 to September 10, 11,635 associates found numerous ways to get steps in. Some organized team walks during lunch breaks, others trained and competed in organized events in their communities.

“I did my first half-marathon ever,” said Humana MarketPoint coordinator Zoilabella Calo of Phoenix, AZ. “It was so inspiring!”

“We can all be proud of the steps we’ve taken together,” said Humana President and CEO Bruce Broussard, who participated in the Dash. “It’s great to be part of such an inspiring program that continues to grow each year. And I enjoyed being part of Team Inspire Health which really encouraged me to rethink my routine to get my steps in.”

Humana’s 7.2 billion-step total is enough to walk around the Earth 145 times and represents a 1.5 billion-step increase over the 100-Day Dash total for 2012.

Humana emphasizes well-being at Taste of Chicago

The Well-Being Tour returns to the 2013 Taste of Chicago, the nation's largest food festival.

The Well-Being Tour returns to the 2013 Taste of Chicago, the nation’s largest food festival.

The Humana Healthier Choices program is returning to the 2013 Taste of Chicago, inspiring chefs to offer healthier dishes at the nation’s largest food festival, which will be held July 10-14 in Grant Park.

The 2013 program features a new twist – the Humana Healthier Choices Passport Guide, which includes the healthier food listing, wellness activities and options for Taste-goers to collect stamps for a chance to win prizes. The most robust Humana Healthier Choices list ever – 34 foods from 20 Chicago restaurants – includes appetizers, main courses and desserts that meet nutritional criteria for calories, sodium and saturated fat, reviewed by a physician panel.

The Humana Healthier Choices are indicated by a green apple on the menu boards at participating restaurant booths. The Humana Healthier Choices Passport Guide is available for free and can be found at more than 70 Dominick’s locations, Humana’s Well-Being Tour at the Taste and online at the Taste of Chicago website

“Taste of Chicago is a great tradition of enjoying local restaurants, good music and celebrating all things Chicago,” said Tim O’Rourke, president of Humana’s Great Lakes Medicare Region. “Humana is happy to be part of that tradition once again, as it ties in perfectly with our dream of helping people of all ages achieve lifelong well-being, while enjoying all that the Taste has to offer.”

Humana Healthier Choices Passport Guide provides ticket to healthy activities
The Humana Healthier Choices Passport Guide will provide Taste-goers with a host of well-being offerings. After picking up a passport, people can collect stamps by participating in wellness activities at the Well-Being Tour or sampling any Humana Healthier Choices food item. Taste-goers can complete six stamps and drop off their passport with Humana to be entered to win fun prizes. Prize drawings will take place on July 14 beginning at 3:30 p.m. Central (Please review the Humana Healthier Choices Passport Guide for official rules).

Humana Well-Being Tour makes a stop at Taste of Chicago
To provide people with a fresh perspective on healthy living, the Humana Well-Being Tour, presented by HumanaVitality®, will be at the Taste on July 10-13, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., located on Congress Parkway.

The tour features include an interactive Xbox Kinect station where guests can play the “Your Shape” game; four biometric screening stations that provide personalized metrics and health experts to describe the results; and, a hydration station, equipped with a person-powered bicycle, that displays information on the importance of staying hydrated and provides a cup of water as a reward for pedaling.

Taste-goers can pick up a free pedometer, compliments of the Humana Walkit program, to help count their steps. Taste-goers can complete an activity to earn a stamp in the Healthier Choices Passport Guide.

Dick Biondi Boomer Bash 
Legendary disc jockey Dick Biondi will be making an appearance on July 14, for Taste-goers who are ready to put on their dancing shoes. The Biondi Boomer Bash, presented by Humana, will feature a sock-hop with the legendary Dick Biondi from 2 to 4 p.m., where guests can dance to music from the ‘50s and ‘60s, hoola hoop and play other fun games.

Now in its sixth consecutive year sponsoring Taste of Chicago, Humana remains dedicated to providing Taste-goers with healthy options. All of Humana’s offerings can be found on the Taste of Chicago map in the “Humana Experience” area.

What’s up with standing?

Dr. Thomas Van Gilder uses a "standing desk" (similar to this one) when he works to help reduce the time he sits during the day.

Dr. Thomas Van Gilder uses a “standing desk” (similar to this one) to help reduce the time he sits each day.

Dr. Thomas Van Gilder, Humana’s National Medical Director for Wellness, is passionate about helping people achieve lifelong well-being. As part of his efforts to encourage greater participation in well-being activities, he will contribute regular blog posts on health and wellness issues and share ideas and insights to lead us forward on our journey to better health. This is his second post. If you missed his first blog post, click here.

We’ve all become familiar with a growing list of things that we shouldn’t be doing if we want to live longer, healthier lives: Don’t smoke! Don’t drink and drive! Don’t overeat! And now …. don’t sit? Are our chairs a health hazard, too? What’s up with that?

Research points to far-reaching negative effects on health
A recent study in the Archives of Internal Medicine compared the mortality risks among those who sit 11 or more hours a day with those who sit for less than four hours a day. It found that adults who sit 11 or more hours a day have a 40 percent increased risk of dying in the next three years, regardless of physical activity, weight, and health status. Another recent study suggests that people who have the “highest sedentary behavior” (that is, those who sit the most) have significantly increased risks of diabetes, heart disease, and premature death.

It is not entirely clear why sitting appears to increase the risk of disease and death, but the benefits of standing and moving more throughout the day are clear: more calories burned; increased energy, improved muscle health; and enhanced metabolism and lower cholesterol.

Taking action
For most of us, the longest periods of sitting occur at our jobs, making the workplace an area of focus for small changes that may make a big difference in your health – and your life.

  • Get a pedometer or an activity tracker (such as a FitBit) and use it to measure and motivate yourself
  • Take all phone calls standing up (pacing when possible)
  •  Take stretching breaks throughout the day
  •  Stop relying solely on technology: Meet face-to-face instead of texting, emailing and calling
  • Switch to a standing desk or chair that includes active sitting (such as exercise ball or Swopper)

Now that you know the risks and know how to reduce those risks, don’t just sit there. Stand for something—your health, for example!

DrVanGilder-biopic-headshotDr. Thomas Van Gilder, MD, JD, MPH, is board-certified in internal medicine and general preventive medicine and public health. He currently serves as Humana’s national medical director for wellness, providing medical direction to HumanaVitality and other Humana wellness initiatives.

He previously served as vice president and medical officer for Humana’s Wisconsin market. He has served in a number of leadership positions with other leading companies, and spent more than nine years in the U.S. Public Health Service at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Dr. Van Gilder obtained a Masters in Public Health from the Harvard School of Public Health and is also an attorney specializing in intellectual property. He has written and spoken nationally and internationally on various public health and law topics, healthcare reform, primary care transformation, prevention and wellness, value-based benefit design and onsite clinics.

Innovating and staying healthy at Louisville IdeaFestival


IdeaFestival, an annual event founded in 2000, includes presentations on a wide range of topics in the arts, science, technology, philosophy, education and business.
(Photo Courtesy of the IdeaFestival)

A diverse group of global thought leaders and innovators will gather in Louisville, Ky., from Sept. 19-22 for the 2012 IdeaFestival.

Given the need for a truly innovative and creative approach to address the nation’s significant health challenges, Humana and HumanaVitality are thrilled to be the title partners of the 2012 IdeaFestival because it offers an opportunity to demonstrate their commitment to helping people take steps toward achieving lifelong well-being through unique programs that are fun, competitive and rewarding.

One of the ways Humana will showcase innovation and creative thinking in healthy living is by offering the “HumanaVitality Wellness Challenge” for IdeaFestival participants. The Wellness Challenge offers numerous ways for participants to engage in healthy activities, including:

  • Getting a free pedometer to track their steps at the Walkit station;
  • Playing a healthy game with other participants at the Xbox Kinect Station;
  • Taking a walk on a treadmill; Finding out their BMI and getting nutrition tips from experts;
  • And for HumanaVitality members, taking a health assessment onsite.

The 2012 IdeaFestival will be a great way to underscore how dynamic programs that make fun things healthy and healthy things fun can reverse many of the negative health trends we see in our society.

Connect with HumanaVitality on Facebook and Twitter to get updates on IdeaFestival activities. You can also follow the conversation on Twitter via the #IF12 hashtag.

Taking a break will help you get ahead


Humana associates take steps to improve their health by scheduling a 15-minute walk to recharge and refocus. This has become a recurring activity for them after forming a team for the 100 Day Dash, an internal step competition that, powered by Humanafit, uses pedometers to track the number of steps taken during a 100-day period. More than 13,000 associates have taken more than a billion steps since June 4, when the friendly competition began. Participants are inspiring each other to go that extra mile, earning HumanaVitality points, winning prizes and learning first-hand how much fun healthy activities can be.

LifeSynch, a Humana subsidiary, offers extensive health behavior resources, including behavioral healthcare, employee assistance program (EAP)/work-life services, behavioral pharmacy services, health coaches and Web-based wellness tools. As part of their commitment to change health behaviors and improve lives, LifeSynch’s health coaches will be contributing a series of articles that demonstrate how easy it can be to make a healthy change.

How often do you actually take a break during lunch? Enough time to warm up your meal in the microwave and get back to your desk to answer more email and phone calls?  Do you even remember to eat at all?   Studies show that taking some time during the middle of the day to recharge and refocus helps us work more effectively the rest of the day.

What do you eat?

Fueling your body during lunch is critical in helping you stay on track the rest of the day. If you don’t eat a filling and healthful lunch you will be reaching for snacks and caffeinated beverages (many times filled with sugar) the rest of the day to compensate. Here are some suggestions for easy lunches that can be prepared ahead of time and will keep you going.

  • Wrap/pita bread: Pretty much anything can be put into a wrap or pita bread and become a delicious meal. Try leftover grilled or roasted chicken, hummus, rice, veggies, lean freshly sliced deli meat, or peanut butter and jelly.
  • Energy-packed salads:  Lettuce, tomato, and cucumber with ranch won’t cut it.  Like wraps, anything can go into a salad. Add any leftover meat, bean, vegetable, cubed and toasted whole grain bread, tuna or sardines.   Add a few pieces of your favorite cheese, a handful of nuts or seeds, and you will have a delicious salad that will leave you energized.
  • Tasting plates: This is a fun way to taste a lot of foods and leave you feeling satisfied and fueled. A great combination can include a handful of olives, a hardboiled egg, sliced pita bread with hummus or other healthful dip, a few bites of cheese, snap peas, a sliced apple and a few pieces of leftover prepared meat or tofu.
  • Pasta salad: Use leftover whole grain pasta and a ton of chopped vegetables with a can of tuna and your favorite healthful salad dressing.  Think you will miss mayonnaise? Try mixing a little mayo with plain Greek yogurt for a high-protein, low-fat dressing.
  • Rice bowls: Throw in leftover meats, vegetables and beans with a few drizzles of lime or lemon juice and olive oil for a balanced meal that fits into an all-in-one container.
  • Add a social element: Talk to co-workers who have the same mindset as you about sharing the the burden of bringing lunch and try different things – maybe as easy as the tasting plates suggested above?


Humana Guidance Centers: Making a Difference

Program participants enjoy a Zumba class at the Orlando Guidance Center.

Humana’s Guidance Centers* provide opportunities for people to live healthier, happier lives. In addition to offering free classes that help improve mental and physical health, the centers create a sense of community through the development of close friendships and shared interests.

As part of Humana’s ongoing efforts to enhance people’s overall well-being, a walking program was added at most of the 24 centers that are spread throughout the country. Participants are motivated to become more active by using pedometers to track their progress and to walk as a group in local parks. The program, which was started in November 2011, has already had a positive impact for hundreds of participants. Since the program launched, more than 900 participants have logged more than 35,000 miles, lost weight, gained strength and agility – and created new friendships. In this video, residents of Zephyrhills and Orlando, Florida, explain how the program has improved their health and well-being.

The walking program is only the latest success at the Guidance Centers. Participants in other exercise programs also report increased mobility and energy and a sense of revitalization. But equally important, many of the program participants say, is a renewed sense of purpose and belonging.

In the video below, Humana Medicare Advantage members tell us how the activities, learning opportunities and friendships have made a difference in their lives.

* The Guidance Center classes and activities vary by location, and some are offered only to Humana members. Please check with your local Guidance Center to verify the availability of activities and classes.