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Defeating Diabetes: Blue Shield earns Health Champion Designation from American Diabetes Association

BY BRYCE WILLIAMS – This week, Blue Shield of California received the Health Champion designation as part of the American Diabetes Association (ADA) Wellness Lives Here initiative. This designation recognizes Blue Shield’s commitment to improving the lives of those we serve and encouraging wellness programs in the workplace.

[caption id="attachment_1449" align="aligncenter" width="650"] Tom Hall, director of development at the American Diabetes Association, presents Health Champion designation to Bryce Williams, vice president of lifestyle medicine at Blue Shield of California[/caption]

Diabetes is a growing threat in the United States. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 1 in 3 Americans are at risk for developing diabetes and without changes in diet and lifestyle, 15 to 30 percent of those at risk will develop the disease within five years.

The good news is that Type II diabetes is often preventable and can be avoided by taking simple steps such as exercising, eating a nutritious diet and maintaining a healthy weight.

Blue Shield is committed to helping our employees and our more than 4 million health plan members take these important steps to reduce risk. Our industry-leading lifestyle medicine solution, Wellvolution, provides access to tools and resources that are convenient, social and scientifically proven to improve health.

The comprehensive Wellvolution suite includes the following programs that help prevent – and in some cases reverse – diabetes and other chronic health conditions:

  • Solera Health Diabetes Prevention Program is a clinically-validated offering added to Blue Shield’s Wellvolution program this year. It empowers individuals to take control of their health by providing access to lifestyle coaching and weekly courses on nutrition, exercise and stress management. Most participants lose an average of 5-7 percent of their weight during the program, which has been proven to dramatically lower risk for developing type 2 diabetes. Since launching the program at the beginning of this year, more than 6,000 Blue Shield members have enrolled and begun taking the steps to improve their health.

  • Walkadoo is Wellvolution’s physical activity program that delivers daily, personalized step goals via text or email, and is available online or via its mobile app. In a recent randomized control trial, Walkadoo members increased their physical activity by 20 percent or 1,000 steps per day when compared to control participants over a six-week period.

  • Daily Challenge is a social well-being experience where members are asked to perform simple challenges every day and share the results with their personal connections. The tool promotes everyday well-being by encouraging small actions and fostering the social ties that drive meaningful change.

  • Ornish Reversal Program is the first program scientifically proven to “undo” (reverse) heart disease by optimizing four important areas of your life: nutrition, activity, stress and love/support. Participants experience the program within a small consistent group, who all have the common goal of reversing their heart disease and improving their well-being.

  • QuitNet is an internationally-recognized, clinically-validated tobacco cessation intervention available online or as a mobile app. It provides access to trained digital quit coaches, the California Smokers Helpline, complimentary nicotine replacement therapy, and the world’s largest global support community representing more than 1 million “quitters.”

Helping people achieve healthy lifestyle habits may be a goal of health plans in general. With the suite of programs available through Wellvolution, Blue Shield is looking to make this goal a reality for our members and all Californians.

Bryce Williams is vice president of lifestyle medicine at Blue Shield of California.