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Twenty Members of Congress Join The Humana Foundation in American Horsepower ChallengeSM to Fight Childhood Obesity

Challenge now under way at schools throughout the 14 home states of all 20 Congressional participants


Thursday, May 7, 2009 7:00 am EDT



Public Company Information:


LOUISVILLE, Ky.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Humana Foundation, philanthropic arm of health-benefits company Humana Inc., is teaming with 20 members of Congress to offer nearly 2,000 U.S. elementary and middle school students a unique exercise/video-game program intended to increase the kids’ activity to improve their health.

The American Horsepower Challenge is now under way in the 14 home states of all 20 honorary Congressional participants. The Challenge is part of a trend known as “exergaming” that incorporates real-world movement into video games. This program translates actual physical activity (steps walked) into an online race.

“Childhood obesity is reaching epidemic proportions in the United States, and initiatives like The American Horsepower Challenge teach kids that staying active is a key to staying healthy,” said Mike McCallister, chairman of The Humana Foundation board of directors, and Humana Inc. president and CEO. “For children to add exercise into their daily routine, it has to be fun. Kids love games and computers, so we combined the two.”

Increasing activity at the grade-school level is critical. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, childhood obesity has more than tripled over the past two decades. The most recent statistics show that 34 percent of America’s children are overweight. If this trend continues, it could cut two to five years from the average American’s lifespan, according to a study by the American Heart Association, and result in a dramatic increase in already prevalent chronic conditions.

The American Horsepower Challenge now under way across the U.S. is really two challenges in one, designed to make kids more interested in being more active:

  • Five schools in the same state or Congressional district compete against each other
  • States and/or congressional districts compete against each other

Twenty members of Congress are serving as honorary participants in the Challenge. Their own steps will be included in their state’s or district’s total. Participating lawmakers include:

Rep. Jason Altmire (PA-4) Rep. Kevin McCarthy (CA-22)
Sen. Max Baucus (MT) Rep. Charlie Melancon (LA-3)
Rep. Earl Blumenauer (OR-3) Rep. Adam Putnam (FL-12)
Rep. Charles Boustany (LA-7) Rep. Mike Rogers (MI-8)
Rep. Ben Chandler (KY-6) Rep. Peter Roskam (IL-6)
Rep. Geoff Davis (KY-4) Rep. John Shadegg (AZ-3)
Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (AZ-8) Rep. John Shimkus (IL-19)
Sen. Tom Harkin (IA) Sen. John Thune (SD)
Sen. Blanche Lincoln (AR) Sen. Mark Warner (VA)
Sen. Mel Martinez (FL) Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-20)

“These lawmakers recognize the costs of childhood obesity and are willing to model healthy behavior for the kids in their districts,” McCallister said. “At The Humana Foundation, we believe this initiative will help ensure that lawmakers consider the long-term impact of childhood obesity as they evaluate legislation to address America’s most pressing public health issues.”

About The American Horsepower Challenge

Each of the participating schools has 20 or more fifth or sixth graders wearing smart pedometers, called ActiPeds, on their shoes to monitor their daily activity for four weeks. The steps are wirelessly uploaded to www.horsepowergame.com while the Horsepower game is played. Each participant receives a cartoon horse avatar that joins their teammates on a virtual bus to transport them around the globe. The distance covered by the bus is based on each school’s collective steps.

A pilot program at schools in Louisville, Ky., where Humana is based, showed encouraging results. At the end of the challenge:

  • 100 students had walked a collective 6,364 miles, a 13 percent increase over the previous four weeks
  • 62 percent of the students reported that they exercised more than usual because of the challenge
  • 53 percent of the students said they got their families to exercise with them
  • 45 percent of the kids said they even started eating healthier during the challenge

Humana Inc.’s Games for Health team developed The American Horsepower Challenge and works to create new ways for people of all ages to reach new levels of health and well-being through games and technology.

About The Humana Foundation

The Humana Foundation was established in 1981 as the philanthropic arm of Humana Inc., one of the nation’s leading health-benefits companies. The Foundation is located in Louisville, Ky., the site of Humana’s corporate headquarters. The Foundation’s mission is to support charitable activities that promote healthy lives and healthy communities.

About Humana Inc.

Humana Inc., headquartered in Louisville, Kentucky, is one of the nation’s largest publicly traded health and supplemental benefits companies, with approximately 10.4 million medical members. Humana is a full-service benefits-solutions company, offering a wide array of health and supplementary benefit plans for employer groups, government programs and individuals.

Over its 48-year history, Humana has consistently seized opportunities to meet changing customer needs. Today, the company is a leader in consumer engagement, providing guidance that leads to lower costs and a better health plan experience throughout its diversified customer portfolio.

More information regarding Humana is available to investors via the Investor Relations page of the company’s Web site at http://www.humana.com, including copies of:

  • Annual reports to stockholders
  • Securities and Exchange Commission filings
  • Most recent investor conference presentations
  • Quarterly earnings news releases
  • Replays of most recent earnings release conference calls
  • Calendar of events (includes upcoming earnings conference call dates and times, as well as planned interaction with research analysts and institutional investors)
  • Corporate Governance Information


Humana Corporate Communications
Jim Turner, 502-476-2119