Blues on the Radio: Health Benefits of Walking Take Center Stage in April

Blue Cross personalities appear regularly on a variety of FM and AM radio programs throughout the state and we’re going to start sharing those interviews regularly here on Blues Perspectives.

The Healthier Michigan Radio Show

With National Walk at Lunch Day coming up on April 25, The Healthier Michigan Radio Show in April focuses on the health benefits of walking. Guests are Jodi Davis, the Blues’ walking advocate, who shares the steps she took to lose over 160 pounds; and Angela Jenkins, a health coach for Blue Cross who details the health benefits of walking and why National Walk at Lunch Day is a great opportunity to motivate coworkers, employees and just about anyone to take a walk for good health.

The hour-long show is  available online or as a podcast. It also airs at the following times on the following stations:

  • WJR-AM in Detroit, 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 3
  • WJIM-AM in Lansing, 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 3
  • WOOD-AM in Grand Rapids, 9 p.m. Sunday, April 8
  • WTCM-FM in Traverse City, 9 p.m. Monday, April 9

Talk of the Town

Also in April, Jeff Connolly, president of West Michigan Operations and Managed Care for the Blues, will speak with Steve Kelly of WOOD Radio on topics including Young Adult Blue MaxSM and other individual health plan products and National Walk at Lunch Day. Connolly is also a regular guest on the Talk of the Town segment on WOOD radio. Jeff will also begin having regular conversations on WTCM in Traverse City beginning in April.    

“Ernie” Encore Presentation

In addition to The Healthier Michigan Radio Show, Andy Hetzel, a frequent radio presence for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, sat down this month to talk with:

  • Ken Kal, Detroit Red Wings radio broadcaster
  • Dan Dickerson, Detroit Tigers radio broadcaster
  • George Blaha, Michigan State football and Detroit Pistons radio broadcaster

Hetzel, the Blues’ vice president of Corporate Communications, discusses “Ernie,” the play by Mitch Albom about legendary Tigers broadcaster Ernie Harwell, who also served as a walking advocate for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. BCBSM is bringing back the hit play for an encore presentation from May 3 through July 28 at the City Theater in Detroit.

Photo by Jens Dahlin

Brush Up on Tigers Trivia for a Chance to Win Tickets to ‘Ernie,’ the Play by Mitch Albom

Many folks on our team here at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan were very fortunate to work with Ernie Harwell while he was still alive and share very fond memories. Some may not realize this about Ernie, but in addition to being a baseball legend, he was also very passionate about healthy living. He also once shared a blog with our walking advocate, Jodi Davis, a stay-at-home mom from West Michigan who lost 162 pounds by walking every day and adopting a healthy lifestyle. Jodi continues to share her story and tips for success on A Healthier Michigan. She and Ernie shared a love of walking and teaching others how to live better. Championing healthy lifestyles is something we are also very passionate about at BCBSM and Blue Care Network.

In the year since his passing, we chose to honor Ernie in many ways, including a recent mural and walking track dedication at our Detroit headquarters, and by sponsoring the production of ‘Ernie’ the play by Mitch Albom.

Since its opening, many people around the office have been raving about the play’s touching performances and star, Will David Young’s uncanny ability to channel the iconic voice of Ernie.

As part of our sponsorship of the play, we would like to share the experience of the play with you by giving you a chance to win tickets to the performance on our Facebook page.

Over the next few weeks, we will be posting Tigers Baseball and Ernie Harwell trivia questions on our Facebook page to win tickets for the following performances:

  • May 17
  • June 8
  • June 21

The first question will be posted tomorrow, May 11, 2011 for tickets to the performance on the 17th. Additional dates for trivia questions will continue to be announced as we move closer to the other performance dates.

To win tickets you must answer our posted trivia question correctly. The first people to post a correct answer within the trivia discussion on Facebook will win pairs of tickets. Once we run out of tickets for a particular performance, we will update participants on our Facebook page:

Additional Terms and Conditions

No purchase necessary to enter to win. This giveaway is governed exclusively by the laws of Michigan. You are not authorized to participate within the giveaway if you are not located within Michigan.

  • Eligibility. Participation is only open to all legal residents of Michigan, who are 18 years of age or older on the date of entry. Employees of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan (“Sponsor”) and respective subsidiaries, affiliates, partners, advertising and promotion agencies and their immediate families (parents, children, siblings, spouses) or members of the same household (whether related or not) are not eligible to enter. Participants must have a valid state-issued photo identification to be able to pick up their tickets.
  • How to Enter. The ticket giveaways will begin on or around April 15, 2011, and end on June 21, 2011.  Specific information regarding how to enter the ticket giveaways will be publicized on the Sponsor’s social media platforms.
  • Prize. Ten (10) winners will receive two (2) tickets to attend the play “Ernie” at the City Theatre in Detroit. The tickets could be for any one (1) of three (3) performance dates: May 17, 2011; June 8, 2011; June 21, 2011. No transportation, hotel or other expenses provided.
  • Drawings. Winners will be selected from all entrants received and be notified on the platform where the ticket giveaway was offered. Winners will be selected by correctly answering a trivia question or engaging on a social media platform through commenting, tweeting or posting in reply to a specific Facebook post, A Healthier Michigan blog post or a specific tweet. Detailed information regarding the specifics for each ticket giveaway will be posted on the relevant social media platform.  Winners have forty eight (48) hours upon being notified by Sponsor to declare acceptance of the prize. If the winner cannot be contacted within this time period the prize will be forfeited and an alternate winner will be selected. The odds of winning depend on the number of eligible entrants received. By entering the giveaway the entrants agree to be bound by these rules and the decisions of the judges. The judge’s decisions on winners will be final and binding on all matters relating to the ticket giveaway.  A list of all winners will be made available at the end of the contest on the Sponsor’s social media platform.
  • Conditions. Winners must be able to provide valid state-issued photo identification on the date of the performance to claim tickets from will-call. Participation in this giveaway and acceptance of prize constitutes winner’s permission for Sponsor to use, exploit, adapt, modify, reproduce, distribute and publically display their name, address (city and state), likeness, photograph, picture, portrait, voice, biographical information and/or any statements made by the winner and the winner’s guest regarding the giveaway or Sponsor without notice or additional compensation, except where prohibited by law. By participating, all participants, including all eligible entrants, winners and winners’ guest(s) agree to release and hold harmless Sponsor, its respective advertising and promotion agencies and their respective parent companies, subsidiaries, affiliates, partners, representatives, agents, successors, assigns, employees, officers directors and shareholders, from any and all claims and liability, for loss, harm, damage, injury, cost or expense whatsoever including without limitation, property damage, personal injury and/or death which may occur in any way in connection with, preparation for, travel to, or participation in giveaway, or possession, acceptance and/or use or misuse of prize or participation in any giveaway or related giveaway activity and for any claims based on publicity rights, defamation or invasion of privacy and merchandise delivery. Sponsor is not responsible if performance of “Ernie” cannot take place for any reason or if any prize cannot be awarded including, but not limited to due to travel complications or cancellations, delays or interruptions due to acts of God, acts of war, natural disasters or weather. Sponsor maintains the right to offer a substitute prize of equal value. Entrants who do not comply with these rules or conditions or who attempt to interfere with this giveaway in any way shall be disqualified from any of the ticket giveaways that occur during the previously mentioned time period.

Metro-Detroit’s African American Churches Compete For Wellness Grants in Our Body & Soul BLUE Walking Challenge

The African American church has always provided spiritual leadership, guidance and motivation to the community. In the Detroit-area thirteen churches are taking a stand and walking their way to a healthier lifestyle by competing in the Body & Soul BLUE wellness challenge, sponsored by American Cancer Society and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.

Health disparities in the African American community are significant:

  • 40 percent of African American men in Michigan will not live past their 65th birthday.
  • African American women are more likely to die from heart disease than women of other races.
  • African Americans of both genders are much more likely to develop and die from cancer than any other racial or ethnic population.

Although the factors creating health disparities in this country are complex, walking is a safe and simple form of exercise that can improve your health, mood and level of fitness. Blue Cross walking advocate, Jodi Davis lost more than 160 pounds by adopting a healthy lifestyle that included a sensible diet and an exercise regimen consisting of a brisk, daily walk of 1.5 miles each day – and she has kept the weight off for nearly 10 years.

A walking exercise routine can help:

  • Lower low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (the “bad” cholesterol)
  • Raise high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol (the “good” cholesterol)
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Reduce risk of or manage type 2 diabetes
  • Manage weight
  • Improve mood
  • Increase strength and fit

Source: The Mayo Clinic

With the U.S. spending more than ever on preventable health problems like those listed above, every step counts. Our Body & Soul BLUE challenge gives members of several metro-Detroit African American churches extra incentive to get moving by giving them grants to log the most walking miles of physical activity by the end of the 10-week period. Grant money is used to support health ministry efforts at the winning churches.

Personal Health Is Key to Community Health

The faith-based health and wellness challenge gives church leaders a chance to motivate their congregations to nurture their bodies, and their souls. A combination of pastoral leadership, educational activities, and the family environment of the church helps congregations make healthier nutrition and lifestyle choices.

Are you involved in a walking or exercise program? What kind of physical activity do you do to stay healthy and fit?

To learn more about the Body & Soul BLUE challenge, watch a video from last year’s challenge in Grand Rapids, Michigan below:

Photo Credit: Nick Harris 1

Who will you inspire to start their journey towards wellness and weight loss?

This is Eric’s story of how he was able to walk his way to better health.

This is the final post in a series telling the amazing stories of individuals who committed to adopting healthier lifestyles.

Jodi Davis inspired Jon Stanton to change his life. Then Jon inspired Rose Borst and Eric Stanton to do the same. They have motivated each other and together they have begun a walking movement.

Motivated. Committed. Strong. Inspired. These words describe Eric Stanton, a man who lost more than 50 pounds with pure dedication and the support of his son.

Eric took his first step toward a healthier lifestyle after his son, Jon Stanton, lost more than 230 pounds by walking. After seeing the positive health effects of his son’s weight-loss, Eric was ready to take action to manage his own health.

See Jon’s story

He started his weight-loss journey by walking on a daily basis and changing his eating habits. Eric made a few simple changes and so far he has lost 50 pounds. He is proud be working toward his weight loss goal and taking control of his health.

Eric knows anything is possible and he’s stepping up to the challenge with his son and their friend Rose.

Together they have achieved healthier lifestyles and you can do it too. Today’s a new beginning – the start of a new, healthier you. And who knows you might just inspire someone else to do the same.

So, who will you inspire? Join our walking movement. Your success story could change someone’s life.

If you would like to learn more about how walking can work for you, visit

Who will you inspire? This is Rose’s story.

For Rose Borst, deciding to lose weight was an easy decision. After back surgery and double-knee replacement she decided that her weight was no longer going to slow her down. This is the third video in a series telling the amazing stories of four individuals who decided that they were ready to lose weight and adopt healthier lifestyles.

At 352 pounds Rose Borst slipped and fell on a sheet of ice in her driveway. Her ankle was broken. But worst of all, she could not physically get herself up off the ground.

At that point, Rose knew that it was time for her to make a serious lifestyle change.

She started eating healthy and quickly noticed results when she stepped on the scale. She read Jodi and Jon’s blogs and discovered the health benefits of walking. After recovering from her surgeries she began to add walking to her daily regimen. See Jodi’s story
See Jon’s story

And to this date Rose has lost and kept off 130 pounds.

Rose is an everyday woman with an amazing story. She heard about Jodi and Jon and realized that if they could lose the weight, she could too. No fancy diet. No surgery. All it takes is that first step.

Now Jon’s father has become part of the “movement”. His story is the final video in the series…for now. Stay tuned to see the inspirational story of Eric Stanton.

Who will inspire you? Your success story could change someone’s life.

If you would like to share your inspirational story and find out more about how walking can work for you, visit Jodi’s Blog on A Healthier Michigan.

Who will you inspire? This is Jon’s story.

This is the second post in a series of four telling the amazing stories of individuals who committed to adopting healthier lifestyles. Jodi Davis inspired Jon Stanton to change his life. Then Jon inspired Rose Borst and Eric Stanton to do the same.

They have kept each other motivated and together they have begun a walking movement.

Jon weighed 430 pounds in 2007

At 31, Jon had high blood pressure, high cholesterol and symptoms of congestive heart failure. When his doctor diagnosed him with Type 2 diabetes, Jon made the commitment to completely change his lifestyle habits.

Read more of this post

Jodi Davis, Walking Advocate for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan

Jodi Davis started a very healthy trend. She began living a healthier lifestyle and inspired Jon Stanton, Rose Borst, and Eric Stanton to do the same. This is the first post in a series of four that shows how one person’s lifestyle change can encourage others to make changes they never thought they could.

“One bite tastes the same as twenty,” is one piece of advice that Jodi Davis has learned and shared with others over the years. Jodi was obese for nearly 25 years and one day, she realized she had to lose weight in order to live her life to the fullest.

Read more of this post

BCBSM advocate, Jodi Davis inspires Michigan residents in their quest to lose weight and get healthier

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan’s walking and healthy habits advocate Jodi Davis wants you to start living a healthier life. Why? Because she did and you can, too. Jodi lost over 160 pounds and has kept it off for nearly 8 years. Her secret? Walking and eating right.

Jodi has been BCBSM’s walking advocate since 2007 – and she is still just as passionate about helping others start a walking regimen and stay away from unhealthy foods.  Take a look at this excerpt from Jodi’s recent blog

“I’m here to help you “step-by-step” along your weight-loss journey. I am that person who believes you can do this… that you WILL do this!”

You can read Jodi’s blog, where Jodi shares thoughts, stories, articles, photos and more. Check out the blog and leave Jodi a comment – she would love to hear from you!

Remember to look for Jodi on Twitter.


Photo Credit: Lon Horwedel,