Health & Wellness Challenge recruits 4300

"Independent Health and Buffalo Bills Health & Wellness Challenge" recruits 4,300 new participants

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (June 11, 2015) - Independent Health and the Buffalo Bills continue to do their part to create One "Healthier" Buffalo. More than 4,300 new participants were recruited to join this spring’s "Independent Health and Buffalo Bills Health & Wellness Challenge," which ran from April 20 through May 31.

Overall, 6,650 individuals signed up for the latest Challenge, nearly triple the amount of people that took part in last fall’s inaugural community-wide health and wellness initiative. Participants logged at least 19,645 hours of physical activity, while consuming 287,330 servings of fruits and vegetables and 477,600 glasses of water.

"It’s great to know the Health & Wellness Challenge is gaining momentum throughout our community and has inspired so many people to become more accountable when it comes to their own health and well-being," said Michael W. Cropp, M.D., president and CEO, Independent Health. "Through our partnership with the Bills, we’ve been able to provide all Western New Yorkers with access to a health and wellness program that makes it easy, fun and rewarding to adopt healthy habits and achieve a healthier lifestyle. As a result, we’re not only improving our own personal health, but also the health of our entire region."

"The Health & Wellness Challenge has gained a tremendous amount of support in the program’s inaugural year," said Russ Brandon, president of the Buffalo Bills. "We are proud to see our partnership with Independent Health encourage so many Western New Yorkers to adopt healthy lifestyle choices and integrate them into their daily lives."

In addition to improving their health and well-being, all Challenge competitors were eligible to win prizes by meeting daily goals and completing challenges for points. Deanna McNair of North Tonawanda was the lucky winner of the Challenge’s grand prize – a trip for two to London to see the Bills take on Jacksonville at Wembley Stadium on October 25. Bills General Manager Doug Whaley personally called McNair to inform her of the exciting news.

"To have Doug Whaley call me to let me know I was going to London to see my favorite team play was unbelievable," said McNair, an avid Bills fan. "I really enjoyed the Health & Wellness Challenge and was able to lose six pounds by taking part in it. Due to a back injury, exercising can be very difficult for me. However, I earned points by doing physical therapy twice a week and going for walks. I was also motivated to add more fruits and vegetables to my diet. As a result, I now make myself a fruit and veggie smoothie every morning that contains kale, avocado and frozen berries."

Five participants were also selected at random each week to receive a prize, including autographed Bills memorabilia, a WiFi tablet, a one-week stay for two at the Biggest Loser Resort Niagara, $150 Visa® gift cards, and gift cards for wearable activity trackers, workout apparel and sporting goods.

Based on the success of the first two Challenges, Independent Health and the Buffalo Bills will be kicking off a third effort to keep the drive toward health and wellness alive during the upcoming football season. Until then, participants are encouraged to continue to visit for new wellness tips and message board updates that will help them stay motivated.

How the Health & Wellness Challenge worked

Participants in the Health & Wellness Challenge earned points by meeting three main daily goals:

  1. 20 minutes of physical activity a day

  2. Eat five servings of fruits and vegetables every day

  3. Drink eight glasses of water each day

Participants could also complete one "extra points" challenge each day to gain more chances to win. As an added bonus, participants who referred their friends, family and co-workers earned 10 extra points for each person who registered for the Challenge. Participants kept track of their progress and learned about that day’s "extra points" challenge by logging-in at

The number of points earned throughout the Health & Wellness Challenge determined the number of chances participants had in the weekly and grand prize drawing. To be eligible to win a prize, participants had to be at least 18 years of age and a legal resident of New York State at the time of entry.