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Walk with Walgreens kicks off in New York’s Times Square

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK — Walgreens on Wednesday morning launched a national health initiative, Walk with Walgreens, here at its flagship store in Times Square.

The new initiative was created to lead to the prevention and early detection of leading diseases, including cancer, heart disease and diabetes, the pharmacy operator stated.

"Walk with Walgreens inspires people to take the small steps that lead to a well-life, making walking even more rewarding," stated Kim Feil, Walgreens chief marketing officer. "We’re creating a simple, national walking movement — walk, log, get rewards. It’s another way we’re educating and engaging our customers to help them stay well and live well."

To help kick off the event, “The Biggest Loser” host Alison Sweeney and New York Giants defensive end Justin Tuck, joined with Walgreens executives Kim Feil, chief marketing officer, and Cheryl Pegus, chief medical officer, on the maiden walk through New York City. "As a working mom with a hectic schedule, finding time to walk every day is a top priority," Sweeney said. "I’m proud to be a part of Walk with Walgreens because it’s a great way for people to become more aware of the importance of every step they take — how easy it is and how rewarding it can be in improving your health and helping you save."

Joan Lunden, award-winning broadcast journalist, best-selling author and longtime advocate for a number of preventive health causes, also is associated with the program. Lunden is serving as a weekly contributor to the Walk with Walgreens website and was likewise on hand for the kickoff event.

Walk with Walgreens is an online community and digital platform that enables members to log the steps they take and get rewards, in the form of weekly coupons, redeemable at Walgreens stores nationwide. Participants also can learn about the health benefits of walking, set walking goals, find local community walks and share content and information with family and friends through the site.

People can register online, where they will receive a virtual starter kit to begin the program. Registration also is available in the photo department at any Walgreens store or by texting "walk" to 21525. To celebrate the launch, Walgreens also will make a $1 donation for every new Walk with Walgreens registration in April, up to $100,000, to the aforementioned national health organizations as part of the Walgreens Way to Well Commitment. The Way to Well Commitment is a four-year, $100 million health initiative to bring preventive health care resources, health testing services and charitable programs to Walgreens stores nationwide — helping to improve the everyday health of Americans through prevention and early detection of today’s leading diseases.

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Study: Extreme weight gains could severely affect health of breast cancer survivors

BY Michael Johnsen

OAKLAND, Calif. — Breast cancer survivors who experience large weight gain have an increased risk of death after diagnosis, according to research released Tuesday by scientists at the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research in Oakland, Calif.

Breast cancer survivors who experienced severe weight gain (10% or more over their pre-diagnosis weight) were 14% more likely to experience a cancer recurrence, compared with women whose weight remained stable (within 5% of pre-diagnosis weight) following diagnosis.

"Most women are not gaining a large amount of weight following breast cancer diagnosis," stated lead researcher Bette Caan, a senior research scientist at the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research. "However, our analysis showed an association with poorer outcomes overall for those who do."

Caan explained that moderate weight gain did not affect breast cancer outcomes. "Women tend to worry about gaining weight after a breast cancer diagnosis," she said. "But it’s actually only the larger weight gains that increase the risk of poor outcomes."

Researchers also found that women who have large weight gains after diagnosis tend to be within normal weight ranges to begin with. In addition, the post-diagnosis effect of the weight gain tends to be greater for women who were originally thinner, they explained.

Women who were leaner to begin with at diagnosis (body mass index less than 25) and who later gained 10% or more, had a 25% higher risk of cancer death and also had a higher risk of recurrence, compared with women whose weight remained stable (within 5% of pre-diagnosis weight) following diagnosis.

Extreme weight gain occurred in 16% of women overall. Slightly more than 19% of women with a BMI less than 25 fell into the large weight gain category, but only 11.1% of women with a BMI greater than 30 fell into that category.

The study results are being presented at the American Association of Cancer Research 102nd meeting, which is being held this week in Orlando, Fla.

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Winn-Dixie’s charitable arm donates more than $1 million to charities

BY Michael Johnsen

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The Winn-Dixie Foundation, the charitable arm of retailer Winn-Dixie, on Tuesday announced its donations of nearly $1.3 million to 81 charities throughout its operating areas in the Southeast.

“The Winn-Dixie Foundation realizes the importance of giving back to the communities, especially in times of need,” stated Mary Kellmanson, president of Winn-Dixie Foundation. “For more than 68 years, the Winn-Dixie Foundation has donated funds to worthy not-for-profit organizations, empowering them to share our goal of helping to improve the lives of families in each neighborhood we serve.”

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