Walgreen Co. has launched a national health initiative encouraging Americans to walk more and rewarding participants with in-store discounts.

Walgreens, Walk With Walgreens, national health initiative, community walks, walking, Kim Feil, national walking movement, wellness, drug store chain, Way To Well Commitment, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, The Biggest Loser, Cheryl Pegus, self-manage health, Alison Sweeney, Justin Tuck, The Mommy Diet, American Heart Association, American Cancer Society, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, American Diabetes Association, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Geoff Walden

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Inside This Issue - News

Walk With Walgreens promotes a 'well life'

April 25th, 2011

DEERFIELD, Ill. – Walgreen Co. has launched a national health initiative encouraging Americans to walk more and rewarding participants with in-store discounts.

Walk With Walgreens is an online community and digital platform enabling members to log the steps they take and earn weekly coupons. Participants can also learn about the health benefits of walking, set walking goals, find local community walks, and share content and information with family and friends through the site.

“Walk With Walgreens inspires people to take the small steps that lead to a well life, making walking even more rewarding,” said chief marketing officer Kim Feil. “We’re creating a simple, national walking movement — walk, log, get rewards. It’s another way in which we’re educating and engaging our customers to help them stay well and live well.”

The program complements Walgreens’ overarching focus on wellness, Feil said earlier this month during the program’s kickoff above the retailer’s store in Times Square. She said it was an extension of the drug store chain’s four-year $100 million Way to Well Commitment, which provides screenings, education and prevention “to bring consumers closer to understanding how to reduce their likelihood of cancer, heart disease and diabetes.”

Heart disease and cancer are the two leading causes of death in the country, and diabetes is the fastest-growing disease.

All three conditions are linked to excessive weight, and Feil noted that more than two-thirds of adults in the United States are obese and that childhood obesity has become a national crisis.

“Walking’s good for us,” she said. “It’s free and it’s easy.”

Vendor partners for the program include Dasani water supplier Coca-Cola Co., Lipton tea supplier Unilever, Planters trail mix supplier Kraft Foods Inc., pedometer supplier Omron Healthcare Inc., Bayer Healthcare LLC and Neutrogena Corp.

The companies’ products will be promoted in stores, and in May Walgreens will be the exclusive retailer of The Biggest Loser line of diet shakes and bars.

Dr. Cheryl Pegus, Walgreens’ chief medical officer, said a part of getting people to believe they can self-manage health is to give them something that they can do for free and within their “work/life balance.”

Walk With Walgreens raises awareness of how easy and beneficial a healthful activity can be, she said.

Besides taking off pounds, Pegus noted, exercise can improve mental health by reducing stress, making it an important “life management” tool. Walking with a companion provides a chance to talk, she pointed out.

“You may be thinking of sitting down, having a soda and watching a movie, or you could be walking and talking,” Pegus said.

People can register for the program at www.walgreens.com/walk, where they will receive a virtual starter kit with exclusive wellness product and service offers. Registration is also available in the photo department at any Walgreens store or by text­ing “walk” to 21525.

Actress Alison Sweeney, host of “The Biggest Loser,” author of The Mommy Diet and a well-known proponent of healthy living and lifestyles, helped kick off the launch by leading a walk through Times Square. She was joined by officials from the American Heart Association, the American Cancer Society, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the American Diabetes Association and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, as well as New York Giants defensive end Justin Tuck.

“I’m proud to be a part of Walk With Walgreens because it’s a great way for people to become more aware of the importance of every step they take,” Sweeney said.