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Latest Independent Health & Buffalo Bills wellness challenge was biggest yet

More than 24,000 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.

As with past challenges, the eighth installment once again challenged participants make exercise, healthier eating and better hydration a part of their daily lives. Each participant, on average, logged more than five hours of physical activity, while consuming 77 servings of fruits and vegetables and 129 glasses of water during the six-week initiative, which ended June 3.

The first session kicked off in October 2014 and drew 2,300 participants – 1,100 fewer than the brand new participants in the latest challenge. Since the first contest, seven more rounds of the six-week initiative have been held, with participation steadily increasing each round.

“We’re very pleased that so many Western New Yorkers have embraced the Health & Wellness Challenge and have become more engaged in living a healthier lifestyle,” Dr. Michael W. Cropp, Independent Health, president and CEO, said in a news release. “When it comes to one’s health and well-being, there is no offseason. It’s important to be accountable for your health every day.”

Erica Muhleman, executive vice president of business development for Pegula Sports and Entertainment, praised the growing effort that leads “to long term benefits for all.”

By taking the steps to lead healthier lives, challenge competitors were eligible to win prizes by meeting daily goals and completing challenges for points. Barbara Bartlow, of Cheektowaga, won the $5,000 cash grand prize. A weekly $500 cash prize was awarded to six participants, while 30 others were selected at random to receive daily prizes that included Bills’ autographed memorabilia and game tickets, wireless headphones, fitness trackers and gift cards.

Independent Health and the Bills plan a ninth challenge during the upcoming football season. Until then, participants are encouraged to continue to visit for new wellness tips and message board updates that can help them stay motivated.


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