American Heart Association’s Revamped Start! Walking Paths Website Helps Walkers Stay on Track and Improve Their Health

  • Enhanced site provides walkers with more information about walking paths throughout the country, social-networking opportunities
  • UnitedHealth Group employees celebrate relaunch with special walking event in Overland Park, Kan.
DALLAS — 

The American Heart Association’s revamped Walking Paths website now has more information on walking paths, additional health tools, and social-networking opportunities to help walkers stay on track and motivate people to improve their health and well-being.

The site — www.startwalkingnow.org — has new resources that help people get started and maintain walking and exercise regimens, and enables visitors to:

  • search for hundreds of walking-path locations via Google Map GPS technology;
  • create, update and post favorite walking paths;
  • share paths with others or post onto their private blog pages and social media networks, like Facebook;
  • use an interactive social-networking tool that enables them to share notes about name, type and difficulty of walking path;
  • upload and share photos of walking paths; and
  • integrate walking paths into an online tracker that documents calories consumed, steps taken and routes walked.

The website enhancements come as a part of a three-year, $1.95 million contribution by UnitedHealthcare, a UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH) company. UnitedHealthcare is supporting the American Heart Association’s efforts to create 150 new walking paths around the country, in addition to enhancing the website.

“We are extremely grateful for the contributions that UnitedHealthcare has given to the American Heart Association, which is greatly helping us build healthier lives free of heart disease and stroke,” said Ralph Sacco, M.D., president of the American Heart Association. “With UnitedHealthcare’s help, we are able to establish additional walking paths around the country and offer more robust online tools to help Americans get active and live a healthier lifestyle.”

The American Heart Association has identified physical activity as one of seven key factors to achieve ideal cardiovascular health as part of its 2020 goal to improve cardiovascular health of all Americans by 20 percent and reduce deaths by 20 percent. Walking can help reduce stress, provide more energy and enhance mental well-being, according to studies. Research also shows that 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity a day can reduce risk of coronary disease, improve blood pressure and blood sugar levels, help maintain body weight, lower the risk of obesity, osteoporosis, breast and colon cancer, and type 2 diabetes.

“Walking is an effective way to increase physical activity because it is easy, inexpensive and can be done almost anywhere,” said Kate Rubin, UnitedHealth Group’s vice president of social responsibility. “We believe the Start! website is a great resource that will help get people moving and make a positive impact on the health and well-being of communities all over the country. The Start! program clearly aligns with UnitedHealth Group’s mission to help people live healthier lives.”

UnitedHealth Group employees are celebrating the launch of the new Start! website with a special event Thursday, Nov. 11. More than 150 Prescription Solutions and UnitedHealthcare employees will take a lap around the ¾-mile walking path at the Overland Park, Kan., office complex at 6860 W. 115th St. The event will begin at 10 a.m. CST.

Start! Walking Paths are also being created at the company’s offices in Golden Valley and Minnetonka, Minn., and Carlsbad and Cypress, Calif. Across the company UnitedHealth Group employees will help develop other safe and accessible walking paths in their communities.

In addition, employees have also been active participants in Start! Heart Walks across the country to raise money for the American Heart Association. So far in 2010, employees have participated in walks at 45 locations across the country and have raised more than $278,000 to fight heart disease and stroke. The company’s employees are also engaged in an internal fitness competition to promote walking and healthy lifestyles.

About the American Heart Association
The American Heart Association is the nation’s oldest and largest voluntary health organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke. Our mission is to build healthier lives by preventing, treating and defeating these diseases – America’s No. 1 and No. 3 killers. We fund cutting-edge research, conduct lifesaving public and professional educational programs, and advocate to protect public health. To learn more or join us in helping all Americans, call 1-800-AHA-USA1 or visit americanheart.org.

About UnitedHealthcare

UnitedHealthcare provides a full spectrum of consumer-oriented health benefit plans and services to individuals, public sector employers and businesses of all sizes, including more than half of the Fortune 100 companies. The company organizes access to quality, affordable health care services on behalf of approximately 25 million individual consumers, contracting directly with more than 600,000 physicians and care professionals and 5,000 hospitals to offer them broad, convenient access to services nationwide. UnitedHealthcare is one of the businesses of UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH), a diversified Fortune 50 health and well-being company. 

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American Heart Association’s Revamped Start! Walking Paths Website Helps Walkers Stay on Track and Improve Their Health