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Blue Zones Project™ Demonstration Sites Named

  Blue Zones Project™ Demonstration Sites Named

Business Wire

DES MOINES, Iowa & NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- January 30, 2013

Wellmark Blue Cross ^ and Blue Shield and Healthways (NASDAQ: HWAY) announced
today that six additional communities have been named as Blue Zones Project™
demonstration sites in Iowa. The communities are:

     Cedar Rapids      Muscatine
          Iowa City              Oskaloosa
          Marion                 Sioux City
                                 

These communities join Cedar Falls, Mason City, Spencer and Waterloo, which
were named in May 2012, as the first Blue Zones Project™ demonstration site
communities in Iowa with populations greater than 10,000 citizens. Nine
additional communities with populations less than 10,000 citizens were named
demonstration sites in October 2012 for a total of 19 communities currently
working formally towards Blue Zones Community™ certification.

“We are thrilled to announce the final six demonstration sites for the Blue
Zones Project in Iowa,” said Ben R. Leedle, Jr., Healthways President and CEO.
“The commitment to improved well-being exhibited by all of the communities
participating in the selection process has been inspiring, and we look forward
to working with the demonstration sites to transform the lives of their
residents through the application of Blue Zones^® principles.”

The selected communities will receive assistance from experts to develop and
implement a Blueprint for making permanent environmental, social and policy
changes that transition people into healthier behaviors that can lead to
longer, happier lives. Three of the communities (Cedar Rapids, Muscatine and
Sioux City) will begin this work immediately, while three (Iowa City, Marion
and Oskaloosa) will begin their work in 2014. The progress of all the large
demonstration site communities will be measured using the Gallup-Healthways
Well-Being Index^®, the first-ever daily assessment of U.S. residents’ health
and well-being.

“Seeing the Blue Zones Project take hold in Iowa is incredibly exciting, and
the applications we received from all the communities demonstrate the great
work being done across the state to improve well-being,” said Wellmark Blue
Cross and Blue Shield Chairman and CEO, John Forsyth. “The six selected
communities are the next step in creating a tipping point where the entire
state experiences improved health and they will be an example for all Iowans.”

“Cedar Rapids is thrilled to be named a Blue Zones Project demonstration site,
and I want to thank the many dedicated leaders who spearheaded this effort,”
said Cedar Rapids Mayor Ron Corbett. “The resources and expertise we’ll
receive as a demonstration site will help us take the next step towards a
healthier Cedar Rapids. I encourage all residents of Cedar Rapids and the
other selected communities to help us by taking the first step towards
personal well-being and visiting www.bluezonesproject.com to pledge your
support for your community and explore the tools and resources available.”

The six communities submitted applications in August in the second and final
selection round for large communities. While this was the last opportunity for
communities with populations greater than 10,000 to apply, communities across
Iowa will continue to implement Blue Zones Project principles within their
community. Additionally, all Iowans and all Iowa businesses can access
resources and tools online at www.bluezonesproject.com. Additional
participation opportunities for communities with populations less than 10,000
will be announced in 2013.

Blue Zones employs evidence-based ways to help people live longer, better
lives by taking a systematic, environmental approach to well-being, which
focuses on optimizing policy, social networks and the built environments where
we spend our time. The Blue Zones Project is based on Blue Zones principles
developed by Dan Buettner and is the centerpiece of the Healthiest State
Initiative to make Iowa the healthiest state by 2016 as measured by the
Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, the first-ever daily assessment of U.S.
residents' health and well-being. Brought to Iowa through an innovative
sponsorship by Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield, in collaboration with
Healthways, the Blue Zones Project initiative encourages all Iowa communities
to change their built environments to make the healthy choice, the easy
choice.

Click here for a map of all demonstration site communities.

About Wellmark

Wellmark, Inc. (www.wellmark.com) does business as Wellmark Blue Cross and
Blue Shield of Iowa. Wellmark and its subsidiaries and affiliated companies,
including Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield of South Dakota and Wellmark
Health Plan of Iowa, Inc., insure or pay health benefit claims for more than 2
million members in Iowa and South Dakota.Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield
of Iowa, Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield of South Dakota, and Wellmark
Health Plan of Iowa, Inc. are independent licensees of the Blue Cross and Blue
Shield Association.

About Healthways

Healthways (NASDAQ: HWAY) is the largest independent global provider of
well-being improvement solutions. Dedicated to creating a healthier world one
person at a time, the Company uses the science of behavior change to produce
and measure positive change in well-being for our customers, which include
employers, integrated health systems, hospitals, physicians, health plans,
communities and government entities. We provide highly specific and
personalized support for each individual and their team of experts to optimize
each participant’s health and productivity and to reduce health-related costs.
Results are achieved by addressing longitudinal health risks and care needs of
everyone in a given population. The Company has scaled its proprietary
technology infrastructure and delivery capabilities developed over 30 years
and now serves approximately 40 million people on four continents. Learn more
at www.healthways.com.

About Blue Zones

Blue Zones employs evidence-based ways to help people live longer, better. The
Company'swork is rooted in theNew York Times best-selling books TheBlue
Zonesand Thrive - both published by National Geographic books. In 2009, Blue
Zones applied the tenets of the books to Albert Lea, MN, and successfully
raised life expectancy and lowered health care costs for city workers by 40%.
Blue Zonestakes a systematic, environmental approach to well-being which
focuses on optimizing policy, building design, social networks, and the built
environment. The Blue Zones Project is based on this innovative approach. For
more information, visit www.bluezones.com.

Contact:

Wellmark
Courtney Greene, 515-988-0918
GreeneCM@wellmark.com
or
Healthways
Bruce Middlebrooks, 615-614-4463
bruce.middlebrooks@healthways.com
 
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