Independent Health, Buffalo Bills Announce Health

Western New Yorkers urged to participate in "The Independent Health and Buffalo Bills Health & Wellness Challenge"

Orchard Park, N.Y., September 23, 2014 – The Buffalo Bills and Independent Health today announced "The Independent Health and Buffalo Bills Health & Wellness Challenge," a newly-created, community-wide health and wellness initiative.

The Health & Wellness Challenge is designed to engage the community in a fun, interactive competition that improves nutrition and fitness habits as well as overall health. The six-week program, running from Monday, October 6 to Sunday, November 16, is aimed at motivating participants to get healthier by meeting weekly goals and completing daily challenges for points to win prizes. Participants will keep track of track of their progress at buffalobills.com/thechallenge.

"Research demonstrates the positive impact of exercise and nutrition on healthy living, and you don’t have to train like a Buffalo Bill to have a significant impact. Simple, everyday changes can make a long-lasting difference, and that is the goal of the Independent Health and Buffalo Bills Health & Wellness Challenge," said Michael W. Cropp, M.D., president and CEO, Independent Health. "I can assure you our team at Independent Health is eager to work with the Bills to help tackle some of the most important health challenges we face here in Western New York. We are confident this partnership will have a positive impact on the health and well-being of the entire region."

"Our entire Bills organization is excited to partner with Independent Health to implement this important new initiative," said Russ Brandon, Bills President and CEO. "We want to thank our advisory committee members for their role in this program. Every team needs a game plan and strong leadership to accomplish its goals and be successful and we certainly feel that those elements are in place. Together, we want to make a difference in our Western New York community by addressing some of the health challenges that face us today."

Participants in the Health & Wellness Challenge will earn points by meeting three main weekly goals: 1) Exercise three times per week for at least 30 minutes, 2) Eat five servings of fruits and vegetables every day, and 3) Drink eight glasses of water each day.

Participants can also complete one daily challenge for additional points to gain more chances to win. Each challenge integrates health tips to help them learn about fitness and nutrition to stay healthy even after the challenge is completed. Participants will receive daily emails as a reminder to log-in and learn about that day’s challenge.

In addition to achieving a healthier lifestyle, competitors have a shot at turning their exercise and nutrition points into prizes – including two tickets to Super Bowl XLIX, on February 1, 2015, at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz., plus airfare and accommodations. One qualifying winner will be selected at random each week to receive a prize, a list that includes autographed memorabilia from Fred Jackson, C.J. Spiller, Mario Williams, EJ Manuel and Sammy Watkins, plus two tickets and two pregame on-field passes to the Buffalo Bills vs. Green Bay Packers game on Sunday, December 14 at Ralph Wilson Stadium.

The number of points earned throughout the Challenge will determine the number of chances participants have in the weekly and grand prize drawing. Competitors must be at least 18 years of age to win. Complete rules and prize details are available at the Challenge website.

In addition to announcing the Health & Wellness Challenge, Independent Health and the Bills also introduced a 16-member team of all-star health care, civic and not-for-profit leaders who will serve as advisors for the Challenge. The Advisory Board members are:
  • Anthony Billittier, M.D., Dean of the School of Health Professionals at D’Youville College
  • Marylou Borowiak, President and CEO, Food Bank of WNY
  • Gale Burstein, M.D., Erie County Commissioner of Health
  • Buddy Campbell, President and CEO, YMCA
  • Mary K. Comtois, Health Platform Program Director, United Way of Buffalo & Erie County
  • Colleen DiPirro, President and CEO, Amherst Chamber of Commerce
  • Kevin Donovan, Interim Executive Director, P2 Collaborative of Western New York
  • Kathy Egan, President, Biggest Loser Resort Niagara
  • Matt Enstice, President and CEO, Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus
  • Ellen Grant, Ph.D., LCSW-R., Deputy Mayor, City of Buffalo
  • Phil Haberstro, Executive Director, The Wellness Institute of Greater Buffalo
  • Thomas Herrera-Mishler, President and CEO, Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy
  • Mark Mortenson, President and CEO, Buffalo Museum of Science
  • Jean McKeown, Vice President of Community Impact, Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo
  • Alexandra Murello, Executive Director, American Diabetes Association
  • Liz Zulawski, Executive Director, American Heart and Stroke Association

More than a dozen members of the Buffalo media, representing TV, radio and print outlets, took part in a friendly physical competition, coached by Buffalo Bills players, to help kick-off the community-wide Health & Wellness Challenge. A donation of $500 will be given in the name of each member of the winning media team to the charity of his or her choice.