WINSTON-SALEM, N.C.  – BB&T employees today joined the thousands of North Carolinians lacing up their walking shoes and joining the Million Step March, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina’s (BCBSNC) statewide wellness initiative promoting the benefits of physical activity. Hundreds of participants attended healthy cooking demonstrations, took part in physical activity challenges, and enjoyed a lunch time walk through downtown Winston-Salem.  
The Million Step March team – led by Kathy Higgins, BCBSNC vice president of Community Relations, and Million Step March spokesman Gary Marino – has already walked more than 200 miles of their 600-mile trek since kicking off the campaign April 1 in Asheville. 
“So far, the Million Step March has motivated thousands of people to get out and walk,” Higgins said. “We have traveled from Asheville and through Charlotte to the Triad to prove that anyone can start a healthy habit, one step at a time. We hope to inspire many more people to follow our example as we continue on to Wilmington.”
Individuals who can’t catch up with the Million Step March in person can participate at home by logging their walking miles on the Million Step March website at So far, more than 2,400 people have signed onto the site to log more than 100 million steps taken, and to share their own personal stories. Participants also have the opportunity to determine which North Carolina nonprofit organization will receive a $75,000 contribution from BCBSNC to promote physical activity.
In addition to encouraging individuals to join the program, BCBSNC is also working with employers to make workplaces more conducive to maintaining and improving good health. Employer research conducted by BCBSNC in 2007 and published in the company’s State of Preventive Health report,  Working Well, indicated that a majority of managers surveyed believe the health of workers impacts productivity and the bottom line. Less than one-third, however, think employers should play an active role in improving employee health.
BCBSNC is working with businesses statewide to help bridge this gap by sharing evidence of the impact of effective wellness programs and supplying toolkits that detail practical steps companies of all sizes can take to improve the health of their workforce. More information is available on BCBSNC’s workplace wellness website at
“Having the Million Step March visit our corporate headquarters is a great way to remind BB&T employees how important it is to develop healthy behaviors,” said Benefits Manager Steve Reeder. “At BB&T, we feel so strongly about healthy lifestyles that we provide a significant financial incentive to encourage employees along this path. Staying healthy improves our employees’ quality of life and helps BB&T achieve its business objectives by keeping health costs manageable, reducing absenteeism and much more.”
“Since the Million Step March kicked off, I have met hundreds of people along the way and each person has an inspiring story to share,” said Marino. “Many of us struggle with weight and related health issues. Our hope is to show that 30 minutes of exercise a day can have a dramatic impact on your health.”
The 10-week campaign ends in Wilmington in mid-June. 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. 

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