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    Schnucks Kicks Off Associate Wellness Program

    Among Schnucks' goals for the new companywide fitness challenge is to help drive down skyrocketing medical costs.

    Schnucks has kicked off a company-sponsored fitness program, called "Steps to the Olympics," that will engage its associates to start to live healthier in the weeks leading up to the start of the 2008 Olympics Games in Bejing.

    The program is centered on team-based walking, jogging and biking activities as ways to improve the health and wellness of as many of its 15,500 associates as possible.

    Schnucks' chairman and c.e.o. Scott Schnuck, captain of his family's walking team, said, "We have about 170 teams signed up now, and we expect more to jump on board," said Schnuck. "For six weeks, we will record our steps as we walk, jog, and bike the estimated 13.5 million steps that will, theoretically, take us to Bejing. The step program is a great kick-off for our on-going health and wellness initiative and a fun way to raise awareness of the need to make healthier life choices."

    Schnucks received support in the development of its program from the staff at BJC HealthCare, a St. Louis-based not-for-profit health care provider that encourages companies to provide on-site employee health, fitness and wellness programs as one way to combat rising health care costs.

    "Our aim is to help improve the quality of life of our associates and their families and promote behavior that will benefit us all down the road," said Schnuck.  "Like every employer, we continue to feel the impact of rising health care costs. While there is no immediate cure for our ailing health care system, we hope that, over time, we can reduce the need for emergency medical intervention and long-term treatments through preventative checkups and healthier lifestyles among our associates."

    Schnuck said that the knowledge his teams gain will also be shared with customers over time. "BJC's guidance has been invaluable to us as we have worked to provide our associates with the most up-to-date nutritional and fitness information available to us. Earlier messages were focused on making healthier choices at the grocery store and when dining out," he said. "Now, it's time for us all to get moving!"

    Schnuck Markets, Inc. operates 103 stores (including five Logli stores) and 100 pharmacies in Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Iowa, Tennessee and Mississippi.

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