July 10, 2008

East Baton Rouge Parish and Blue Cross Join to Promote Better Health

Mayor Kip Holden challenges employees, other cities to "Do the 2"

Baton Rouge Mayor Kip Holden will announce on July 18 that the City of Baton Rouge, Parish of East Baton Rouge, has become an official Louisiana 2 Step City. City-Parish employees are joining nearly 10,000 other Louisianians who have taken the pledge to eat right and move more by signing up for the Louisiana 2 Step program sponsored by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana.

The City-Parish will kick off its participation with an Employee Health Fair on July 18 co-sponsored by Blue Cross. "It's time for Louisiana to take a stand against obesity," said Mayor Kip Holden, who will appear at a 10:30 a.m. press conference at the Baton Rouge River Center. "I'm encouraging all City-Parish employees and residents to sign up for the Louisiana 2 Step, and we're challenging the mayors and employees of every other city statewide to join us and Do the 2."

The Louisiana 2 Step campaign urges Louisiana residents to "Do the 2," or take two small daily steps toward better health: eat right and move more. The fun, free and information-packed website gives visitors a wide variety of interactive tools, including virtual health coaches, to educate, motivate and inspire them to make healthier lifestyle choices. 

John Maginnis, vice president of corporate communications at Blue Cross, encouraged other cities and parishes to follow the example set by East Baton Rouge, as well as the first official 2 Step City, New Iberia. "How many other cities are ready to say, 'We're going to beat this problem and give our people the tools they need to get healthy'?" Maginnis said. "Blue Cross challenges the mayors of all the cities of Louisiana to seize this moment to make a big difference for your community."

City-Parish employees will have the chance during the July 18 health fair to sign up for their own Louisiana 2 Step team. Any individual or group can register free with the 2 Step program by visiting the website at

"Research shows that small lifestyle changes can add up to better health and lowered risk for obesity-related diseases," said Maginnis. "It's very exciting to have all our City-Parish employees make the commitment to eat right and move more."

The burden of obesity hits our state hard:

  • Louisiana ranks 12th in adult obesity in the nation.
  • Being overweight and/or obese substantially increases the risk of hypertension, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, gallbladder disease, osteoarthritis and various cancers.
  • Obesity-related diseases account for nearly half of Louisiana's healthcare budget.
  • Almost 1 in 3 Louisiana school-aged children is overweight or obese.

Since January 2007, the Louisiana 2 Step campaign has urged Louisiana residents to visit and learn how they can make small changes to combat obesity. So far, more than 115,000 visits have been made to the 2 Step website by people wanting to learn about eating right and moving more. In April 2008, Blue Cross launched its companion site for children ages 5 to 12,

About Blue Cross
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana is Louisiana-owned and -operated. Marking its 74th anniversary this year, the company is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. It is a tax-paying mutual company, owned by its policyholders. Headquartered in Baton Rouge, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana also has district offices in Alexandria, Houma, Lafayette, Lake Charles, Monroe, New Orleans and Shreveport. The company's subsidiaries include HMO Louisiana, Inc. and Southern National Life Insurance Company, Inc.