CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – North Carolina, put on your walking shoes! Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (BCBSNC) is launching the “Million Step March,” a 600-mile statewide wellness initiative to promote the benefits of physical activity. Participants will walk from Asheville to Wilmington and can be tracked on an interactive website along the way.
The Million Step March (MSM) will be led by Kathy Higgins, BCBSNC’s vice president of Community Relations, and Gary Marino, a nationally recognized healthy lifestyle advocate. Marino lost more than 150 pounds over three years, largely by traveling on foot from Florida to Boston to raise awareness about obesity.  Marino has teamed up with BCBSNC to show that anyone can live a healthier lifestyle by taking simple steps like walking regularly.
 “Just a short walk on most days can dramatically impact a person’s well being,” said Higgins. “We’re crossing North Carolina on foot to show that anyone can start a healthy habit, one step at a time.”
“After 15 years of walking only in mall food courts, I made a commitment to walking for a healthier lifestyle and now enjoy the health benefits of that decision. I want to inspire others to do the same,” added Marino. 
The 10-week campaign begins in Asheville on April 1 and ends in Wilmington on June 11. The Million Step March team will host dozens of demonstrations and events at schools, community groups, worksites and other locations along the way to inspire people to get moving. 
Residents from across North Carolina can join the Million Step March in person or online by visiting  At the website, participants can report their daily physical activity and win prizes as part of the Million Step Challenge, follow the MSM team’s progress walking across the state, and more.  They will even have the opportunity to determine which North Carolina non-profit organization receives a $75,000 physical activity contribution from BCBSNC.           
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a full 58 percent of North Carolinians do not get the recommended levels of physical activity*. BCBSNC, which insures more than one in three North Carolinians, reports that 61 percent of its customers are overweight or obese. Walking just 30 minutes on most days may help prevent chronic conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and obesity – in turn helping to keep health care affordable. BCBSNC is dedicated to improving the health of all North Carolinians, one step at a time.

Join in the March! Visit for tips on how to make physical activity part of your routine and to share your story with North Carolinians who want to improve their overall health.
The Million Step March is coming to a city near you:
About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina:
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina is a leader in delivering innovative health care products, services and information to nearly 3.6 million members, including approximately 825,000 served on behalf of other Blue Plans. For 75 years, the company has served its customers by offering health insurance at a competitive price and has served the people of North Carolina through support of community organizations, programs and events that promote good health. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Access BCBSNC online at
About Million Step March:
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina is stepping up its commitment to physical activity with its Million Step March. This new statewide wellness initiative focuses on promoting the benefits of simple, yet effective forms of physical activity like walking. The March begins in Asheville and ends in Wilmington.   It also includes an interactive web site which provides North Carolinians with opportunities to join the March online, and shows them how to make good health a habit, one step at a time. To step it up, visit

* Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, 2005