Furthering its mission to promote preventive health care, Walgreen Co. has embarked on its Way to Well Health Tour with AARP for 2013.

Walgreens, Way to Well Health Tour, AARP, preventive health care, free health tests, Greg Wasson, Barry Rand, health assessments, chronic diseases, wellness services, Walgreens pharmacist

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Walgreens hits the road for Way to Well tour

February 12th, 2013

DEERFIELD, Ill. – Furthering its mission to promote preventive health care, Walgreen Co. has embarked on its Way to Well Health Tour with AARP for 2013.

The drug chain said Tuesday that from now until December, the Walgreens Way to Well Health Tour with AARP will provide consumers with free health tests, health assessments, health education and consulting services, primarily in communities in cities with a high prevalence for leading diseases and high uninsured and unemployed populations.

The 2013 tour marks the fifth year that Walgreens and AARP have provided the community outreach program. Since its inception, the tour has provided almost 3.5 million health tests, valued at more than $70 million, according to Walgreens.

"Our Way to Well Health Tour is one of the ways we can deliver valuable wellness services directly to underserved communities — those most in need," Walgreens president and chief executive officer Greg Wasson said in a statement. "We're glad to continue our long-standing relationship with AARP to provide these screenings and help detect existing problems that may need further medical attention. And we're very grateful to all the Walgreens customers whose purchases of our brands are helping support this program."

For the program, a fleet of four customized vehicles tours separate regions of the United States and Puerto Rico. Walgreens noted that the free health tests and risk assessments are intended to give participants personal health insights that may indicate symptoms and potential risks for cancer, heart disease and diabetes. Tests include total cholesterol, glucose, blood pressure, body mass index, body composition, skeletal muscle, resting metabolism, visceral fat, real body age and body weight.

The health tests, altogether valued at over $100, are administered to adults by certified wellness staff and can be completed in about 20 minutes. Participants then consult with a Walgreens pharmacist or certified wellness staffer about their results.

All participants get a free, one-year AARP membership or a one-year extension of their existing membership. Also available are educational health and wellness resources from AARP and other Walgreens Way to Well nonprofit partners. Visitors also will be able to sign up for Walgreens' Balance Rewards customer loyalty program at tour stop locations.

"We are pleased that this community outreach program will serve underserved and multicultural communities in need," stated A. Barry Rand, CEO of AARP. "This tour will deliver critical health and wellness services on behalf of America's growing population of people over 50."

The Way to Well Health Tour with AARP is part of the Walgreens' Way to Well Commitment, which began in February 2011 as a four-year, $100 million effort aimed at improving the everyday health of Americans. The initiative also is designed to serve up accessible, affordable resources for prevention and early detection of chronic diseases, namely heart disease, cancer and diabetes.

The tour is partially funded by customers who purchase Walgreens brand health and wellness products. From February to December 2013, 1 cent from the purchase of each Walgreens-brand health and wellness product, up to $3 million annually, will support bringing preventive wellness services to local communities through the Walgreens Way to Well Fund.

Walgreens also has announced that this year it will continue its Way to Well Health Tour in tandem with the National Urban League (NUL), providing free health tests, assessments, education and other services to residents in urban and minority communities with disproportionately higher rates of preventable disease. The 2013 tour is the seventh year that Walgreens and NUL have partnered for the program. In six years, the tour has administered more than a half-million health tests valued at $11.4 million to over 1,000 communities nationwide.

In addition, the tour will highlight NUL's "I Am Empowered" national service initiative and work with league affiliates to encourage members of urban and minority communities to act as their own health advocates by visiting the Walgreens Way to Well Health Tour with NUL.

"The National Urban League remains committed to eliminating barriers to wellness by advocating for, and mobilizing minority communities," stated Marc Morial, president and CEO of NUL. "As communities of color across the country struggle with rising health care costs, we are proud to continue our seven-year partnership on the Way to Well Health Tour with Walgreens. Working together with Walgreens, we hope to provide the health education, testing and awareness that is critical to empowering communities to strive for a better quality of life."

*Editor's Note: Article updated with information on tour with National Urban League.