News Releases

January 06, 2009

Governor Douglas Joins Virgin Healthmiles’ Capitol Steps Challenge To Tackle Obesity

Governors from Across U.S. Lead by Example in Increasing their Daily Physical Activity To Shed Light on Growing Obesity Epidemic

Montpelier, VT - Governor Jim Douglas today announced he and members of the state’s administration will participate in the Capitol Steps Challenge, the first phase of Virgin HealthMiles’ year-long initiative created to draw attention to the growing issue of obesity in America. As the first stage in this commitment, Virgin HealthMiles, a leading provider of employee health programs, has partnered with Governor Rick Perry (Texas) who has invited governors across the U.S. to participate in the Capitol Steps Challenge to raise awareness for the nation’s obesity epidemic

“We have made great progress in prevention and healthy lifestyles – and it shows with Vermont’s recent designation as the healthiest state in the nation,” said Governor Douglas. “My team will be logging their distances to defend our state’s honor and at the same time raise awareness about the need to stay active,” he said.

Research shows increased physical activity helps reduce the risk of many lifestyle-driven diseases, such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes, impacting healthcare costs today. By having state governors lead by example and increase their daily physical activity, they are sending an important message to Americans about the impact simple healthy and active choices can have on our nation’s health. Vermont has joined other leading states, including Alaska, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin and will participate in the Capitol Steps Challenge to raise national awareness of this important issue.

About the Capitol Steps Challenge

For two weeks beginning January 1, Governor Douglas and members of his team will compete head-to-head with other governors and their teams by tracking their daily activity. At the end of the challenge, Virgin HealthMiles will declare the state team with the highest average steps per person as the “Most Active Governor’s Team” in the nation and Sir Richard Branson will make a $50,000 donation to that state’s childhood obesity program. If the winning state chooses to participate in the second phase of Virgin HealthMiles’ obesity initiative, they will have the opportunity to have Virgin HealthMiles double all donations earned by their state in the second phase of the initiative, increasing the potential donation to $250,000. Virgin HealthMiles is pledging up to $6.5 million in donations to U.S. state programs as part of this year-long initiative and additional details will be announced in early 2009.

Virgin HealthMiles ( is a first-of-its kind health incentives program that rewards people for getting active and healthy. Physical activity is critical for maintaining a healthy weight and decreasing the risk of many chronic lifestyle-driven diseases, such as heart disease and type-2 diabetes. Virgin HealthMiles takes a unique approach, encouraging people to do the activities they enjoy most, and rewards them for their efforts.

“It’s an honor for Virgin HealthMiles to work with Governor Douglas and his cabinet to bring awareness to the important issue of improving the health and wellness of citizens across the country,” said Chris Boyce, CEO of Virgin HealthMiles. “We’re excited to be part of the Capitol Steps Challenge and look forward to providing a fun and engaging experience for governors and their teams across the nation.”

For more information about the Capitol Steps Challenge, visit:

Source: Office of the Governor
Last Updated at: January 06, 2009 09:01:50