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City participates in National Walk@Lunch Day, promotes employee wellness and prevention programs

The City of Kansas City, Mo., will join Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City and several other downtown employers during the Seventh Annual National Walk@Lunch Day on Wednesday, April 24 at noon outside City Hall, 414 E. 12th St.

Following an opening kickoff statement from City Manager Troy Schulte and a Blue Cross and Blue Shield representative, employees will walk for 30 minutes, completing two laps (one mile) around City Hall facilities and Ilus Davis Park. All participants will receive a bottle of water. In addition to City Hall, several other City facilities will also participate.

“In Europe, where our sister cities Hannover, Germany and Metz, France are located, people walk an average of 237 miles a year whereas Americans only average about 87 miles a year. Europeans simply incorporate walking into their daily schedule,” said Amy Vandemerwe, Fountain of Health wellness coordinator.

According to the Journal of Physical Activity and Health, Europeans tend to be leaner and healthier than Americans in part because they walk nearly three times the distance Americans do.

“National Walk@Lunch Day is a great opportunity to encourage more walking as a daily habit for everyone,” Vandemerwe said. “Walk@Lunch Day is about integration of physical activity into everyday work life. We all have multiple deadlines, responsibilities and busy schedules, but if exercise is folded into our daily habits and patterns, it is more likely to become a permanent part of our lifestyle.”

An increased emphasis on employee wellness also reduces the overall costs of health care to individuals, creating significant savings for employers. Research from the Harvard School of Public Health shows that employers can save $3 for every $1 they spend on health and wellness.

Not only can a lunchtime walking program reduce employees’ risk of chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease, it can also increase their quality of life just by getting outside during their lunch break and moving around instead of eating at their desk and sitting still.


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