Chicago, San Antonio to go head to head over health

Emanuel announces wellness competition between Chicago and San Antonio to improve health, lower healthcare costs

October 8, 2012

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Chicago and San Antonio workers will go head to head to see which place has the healthier City Hall, with a $5 million prize at stake for the winner.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced Monday the city is teaming up with major soda industry executives to try and improve the health of city workers, as well as lower healthcare costs.

"We need individuals to take responsibility for their own health so they will both improve their health and improve the health of the city’s budget, and save taxpayers money," Emanuel said.

The Mayor said individual employees could win cash prizes for getting fit. The American Beverage Association is sponsoring the competition and will award the winning city $5 million dollars. The group will also be stamping all soda vending machines in municipal buildings with calorie counts.

"We think these kinds of things are going to get a lot further faster than bans or fights over discriminatory taxes," said Susan neely, President and CEO of the American Beverage Association.

Last year, Emanuel launched a comprehensive wellness program for city workers. Those that don’t sign up have to pay an extra $50 for their monthly health premiums.