Thousands of WNYers participate in this spring’s Health & Wellness Challenge

Thousands of Western New Yorkers participate in this spring’s Health & Wellness Challenge

Orchard Park, NY (July 7, 2017) – More than 19,000 Western New Yorkers signed up for this spring’s Independent Health and Buffalo Bills Health & Wellness Challenge, making it the most successful Challenge to date. Overall, 3,285 new participants registered for the online community-wide health and wellness initiative, which ran from April 24 through June 4.

The Health & Wellness Challenge was designed as way to help motivate individuals to integrate physical activity and good nutrition into their daily lives by offering them opportunities to win prizes. The first session kicked off in October 2014 and drew 2,300 participants. Since then, five more rounds of the six-week initiative have been held, with participation steadily increasing each round, bringing the total number of registrants to 19,091.

“We’re very excited that the Health & Wellness Challenge has motivated so many people to take charge of their own health and well-being,” said Michael W. Cropp, M.D., president and CEO, Independent Health. “Through our partnership with the Buffalo Bills, we’ve been able to provide 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.”

“Our partners at Independent Health continue to take the Health & Wellness Challenge to new heights,” said Erica Muhleman, Pegula Sports and Entertainment’s executive vice president of business development. "Because of our collective commitment to this initiative, more than 19,000 have participated in the Challenge and we are thrilled with how this program has grown since its inception. We look forward to continuing to make Western New York a healthier community."

Variety of prizes awarded, including grand prize trip to South Beach
By taking the steps to lead healthier lives, all Health & Wellness Challenge competitors were eligible to win prizes by meeting daily goals and completing challenges for points. Gary Frier of Depew was the lucky winner of the Challenge’s grand prize – a trip to South Beach to see the Bills take on Miami on December 31. The grand prize includes:

  • Roundtrip airfare for two
  • Hotel accommodations
  • Two game tickets
  • A $500 Visa® gift card
  • A spa package
  • Bills apparel

“I couldn’t believe it when I heard I was the grand prize winner. It’s definitely something I was thinking about during the Challenge, but didn’t expect to actually win. Being the last game of the season, I’m hoping to go to Miami and see the Bills clinch a playoff spot with a victory,” said Frier, a longtime Bills fan. “I have participated in all six Health & Wellness Challenges because it helps motivate me to get moving and be healthy. I’ve been able to maintain my weight by eating fruits and vegetables and drinking water throughout the day. Plus, since I was already participating in a team walking program at work, it was easy for me to earn points for being physically active each day and to take part in the Steps Challenge.”

Introduced this spring, the new Steps Challenge allowed participants to synch their compatible fitness tracker to the Health & Wellness Challenge website and track their steps. For every 5,000 steps walked, participants earned an entry into the weekly drawing to win a Bills Training Camp V.I.P. Experience and a $100 Visa® gift card.

In addition to the Steps Challenge drawing, five participants were selected at random each week to receive other prizes, including autographed Bills memorabilia, Bose® wireless headphones, fitness trackers and gift cards for workout apparel and sporting goods.

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
2) Eat five servings of fruits and vegetables
3) Drink eight glasses of water

Participants could also complete one “extra points” challenge each day to gain more chances to win. As an added bonus, individuals who referred their friends, family and co-workers earned 10 extra points for each person who registered. 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.

To keep the drive toward health and wellness alive, Independent Health and the Bills are planning to have a seventh Health & Wellness Challenge 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.