Stew Leonard's Associate to Receive American Heart Association Award

Marlene Bonacci, an employee of Norwalk, Conn.-based Stew Leonard’s, will be the recipient of the 2010 Start! Lifestyle Change Award sponsored by Aetna. The award program helps employers recognize workers who make changes that improve their quality of life and health. Past honorees have achieved such personal milestones as losing weight, lowering blood pressure, increasing their energy or adopting a more healthful diet. An award presentation will take place Jan. 6 at the Saltwater Grille in Stamford, Conn.

Over the past two years, Bonacci, who has lost 70 pounds since 2009, has incorporated physical exercise into her life, becoming captain of Stew Leonard’s “Get MOOving” wellness club in addition to organizing and taking part in on-site Zumba and fitness classes. To aid her weight loss goal, Bonacci stepped forward to form and promote a work-site Weight Watchers program at Stew Leonard’s Danbury, Conn., store. Her new outlook has inspired her to return to school, where she is now studying for a degree in nutrition.

“Aetna is committed to supporting efforts that will help reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke, and encouraging individuals to lead stronger, healthier lives” noted D. Brad Morse, VP, middle market sales & service at Hartford, Conn.-based Aetna. “Whether it’s eating healthier, exercising more, reducing our cholesterol or quitting smoking, we can turn our personal choices into life-saving actions.”

Aetna backs the Dallas-based American Heart Association’s national “Start!” initiative through workplace wellness and customer health programs. Start! urges Americans and their employers to nurture a culture of physical activity and improved health by walking.

For more information on Start! or starting a walking program, visit

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