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.

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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.

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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.

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By Ellen Nason

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. 


Senior Yoga


Morning Walk


Walking Group




Craft Classes


Class doing Leg Streatches


Zumba Class

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