New York State Department of Health and Managed Care Plans Announce "Move For Life!", a Joint Workplace Wellness Project

Statewide Initiative Seeks to Promote Physical Activity and Healthy Lifestyle Choices

Albany, March 4, 2002 – New York State Health Commissioner Antonia C. Novello, M.D., M.P.H., Dr.P.H. today was joined by Paul Macielak, president of the New York Health Plan Association, and health plan officials to announce a joint initiative aimed at promoting worksite wellness programs. The project involves eight health plans around New York that have agreed to participate in the "Move for Life!" worksite health promotion program.

"We know from studies that employees who participate in physical activity increase their energy and productivity," said Dr. Novello. "The Move for Life! program is the gold standard of worksite wellness programs with a proven track record for getting employees to increase their physical activity and make those activities a regular part of their lives."

"With their focus on preventive care, managed care plans have always offered programs that promote improved health and healthy lifestyles, and these include workplace wellness programs," said Paul Macielak. "Workplace wellness initiatives enable employers to play an important role in improving their employees' health. By implementing Move for Life! for their own employees, the health plans are leading by example."

Move for Life! is an eight- to ten-week interactive program designed to encourage employees to make physical activity a part of their daily lives. The program rewards employees for participating, including certificates and prizes for participants achieving certain milestones throughout the program. Benefits of workplace wellness programs such as Move for Life! are numerous—for employees and employers alike.

"When the Senate created the Task Force on Health and Wellness, we naturally looked for ways to get out the word about the importance of workplace wellness programs," said Senator Mary Lou Rath, co-chair of the Senate's task force.  "We look forward to working with these health plans that are taking an active role in promoting these programs — to both their employer groups and their own employees."

Health benefits to individuals that participate include:

  • Weight reduction
  • Reduced tension and feelings of stress
  • Improved well-being, enhanced self-image and self-esteem
  • Improved physical function

For employers, benefits include:

  • Reduced health care costs
  • Reduced illness and injuries
  • Reduced absenteeism
  • Improved employee relations and morale

Health plans participating in the Move for Life! initiative include:

  • Capital District Physicians' Health Plan
  • GHI-HMO
  • HealthNow
  • MVP Health Care
  • Preferred Care
  • Suffolk Health Plan
  • Vytra Health Plans

These plans represent all regions of the state and collectively employ more than 5,600 people. They also provide comprehensive health care services to more than 1.5 million New Yorkers.

Dr. Novello said, "We hope this partnership with the health plans is just one of many public/private partnerships we can all embrace as we seek the common goal of a healthier New York."

3/4/02–23 OPA