Arthritis Foundation and Anthem Blue Cross Foundation Join Forces to Improve Lives of Those with Arthritis

Grant Promotes Physical Activity through Arthritis Foundation's Certified Exercise Programs in Southern California

LOS ANGELES, Oct. 13, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Arthritis Foundation, Pacific Region, has received a grant from the Anthem Blue Cross Foundation to expand its patient education and evidence-based exercise classes that will reduce the pain and disability of arthritis for thousands of southern California residents.  

The Arthritis Foundation's Life Improvement Series classes are nationally recognized by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the California State Department of Health.  The program teaches people how to use physical activity to decrease the pain and physical limitations associated with arthritis.  Exercises have been tested and proven to reduce arthritis pain by 18% and increase function by 25%.  

The series offers three types of exercise programs:  Aquatics for relief from pain and stiffness; Exercise for flexibility and strength; and Walk With Ease for increased function and confidence.  The Life Improvement Series currently serves 11,000 people annually.  The grant from Anthem Blue Cross Foundation will allow the Arthritis Foundation, Pacific Region, to serve another 9,000 people.

"Thanks to our valued relationship with the Anthem Blue Cross Foundation, we plan to almost double the number of people whose quality of life will improve as a result of participation in Arthritis Foundation educational and Life Improvement Series exercise programs," said Manuel Loya, CEO of the Arthritis Foundation, Pacific Region.  "In addition to encouraging participation in Arthritis Foundation programs, our awareness campaign will inform the 2.4 million Southern California residents with arthritis about the importance of physical activity to their overall well-being.  Currently, 47 percent of people with arthritis in California also have heart disease; 38 percent have high blood pressure; and 38 percent have diabetes.  Moving just 30 minutes per day can help those with arthritis and other conditions ease joint pain, improve mobility and reduce fatigue."  

Krista Bowers, president of the senior division of Anthem Blue Cross added, "We have the honor of serving tens of thousands of southern California seniors through our Medicare products. Above all else, our members are concerned about maintaining their quality of life as they age. This is particularly true of people with a condition like arthritis. That's why we're happy to support organizations like the Arthritis Foundation that have programs to help people manage their conditions and live life to the fullest."

The Arthritis Foundation

Arthritis is the nation's leading cause of disability. It robs one in every five adults and 300,000 children of living life to its fullest.  The Arthritis Foundation (www.arthritis.org) leads the way in helping people with arthritis live better today and create better tomorrows through new treatments, better access and, ultimately, cures. We do this by funding life-changing research that has restored mobility in patients for more than six decades; fighting for health care policies that improve the lives of the millions of Americans with arthritis; and partnering with families to provide empowering programs and information.

For more information about arthritis and the Arthritis Foundation, visit www.arthritis.org or call the Arthritis Foundation, Pacific Region office at 1.800.954.CURE (2873).

About Anthem Blue Cross Foundation

Through charitable grant making, the Anthem Blue Cross Foundation LLC, an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Association, promotes Anthem Blue Cross's inherent commitment to enhance the health and well-being of individuals and families in communities that the company serves. The Foundation focuses its funding on strategic initiatives that address and provide innovative solutions to health care challenges, as well as promoting the Healthy Generations Program, a multi-generational initiative that targets specific disease states and medical conditions. These include: prenatal care in the first trimester, low birth weight babies, cardiac morbidity rates, long term activities that decrease obesity and increase physical activity, diabetes prevalence in adult populations, adult pneumococcal and influenza vaccinations and smoking cessation. The Foundation also coordinates the company's annual associate giving campaign and its parent foundation provides a 50 percent match of associates' campaign pledges. ® ANTHEM is a registered trademark of Anthem Insurance Companies, Inc. The Blue Cross names and symbol are registered marks of the Blue Cross Association.

About Anthem Blue Cross

Anthem Blue Cross is the trade name of Blue Cross of California.  Anthem Blue Cross and Anthem Blue Cross Life and Health Insurance Company are independent licensees of the Blue Cross Association. ® ANTHEM is a registered trademark of Anthem Insurance Companies, Inc. The Blue Cross name and symbol are registered marks of the Blue Cross Association. Additional information about Anthem Blue Cross and Anthem Blue Cross Life and Health Insurance Company is available at www.anthem.com. Also, follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/healthjoinin, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/HealthJoinIn, or visit our YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/healthjoinin.

SOURCE Arthritis Foundation, Pacific Region

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