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Ties to Sioux Falls firmly rooted.

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. -- Lewis Drug cosponsored a broad screening effort that revealed high blood pressure is rampant here. Called The Big Squeeze, the initiative found that nearly two-thirds of tested Sioux Falls residents have or may be at risk for high blood pressure.

Of almost 9,000 residents screened in April 2014, 35% had a normal blood pressure reading (less than 120/80). Almost half (45%) were in the at-risk category (121/81 to 139/89). Virtually one in five (19%) had a high reading (140/90 to 179/109). One percent were critically high (greater than 180/110).

The number of people screened was up from 2,500 in 2011. An additional 50,000 blood pressure readings from primary clinics were included in the survey.

The survey also compared the relationship between waist circumference and blood pressure. A normal waist circumference was considered less than 35 inches for women, and less than 40 inches for men. More than one-third (34%) of women had an above-normal waist, and of that group, 61% had elevated blood pressure. Nearly a third (32%) of men surveyed had an above-normal waist, and of that group, 93% had elevated blood pressure.

Besides Lewis, public and private partners from the Sioux Falls community leading The Big Squeeze included the American Heart Association, Avera Health, the City of Sioux Falls, Dakotacare, Novartis, Sanford Health, Sioux Falls Fire Rescue and Walgreens.

Also in Sioux Falls, Lewis contributed to a YMCA renovation. The support of president and chief executive officer Mark Griffin helped ensure the renewal of the building's racquetball courts.

"This is really fantastic," Griffin was quoted as saying by the Argus Leader newspaper after he played in the inaugural game on the new courts. "Not only for the YMCA here but for racquetball in Sioux Falls. We're proud to be part of this."

When a design for a smaller YMCA included a reduction in the number of courts from six to two, Griffin and Howalt McDowell Insurance president Jeff Scherschligt, both avid players, led an effort to find a new venue. An assessment of other potential sites brought them back to the YMCA, which agreed to revise its redesign to include two more courts after promises from Griffin and Scherschligt that the racquetball community would come up with funding.

Scherschligt, a member of the YMCA board of directors, said the project would help the YMCA carve out a niche and continue to flourish. He told the Argus Leader that the effort "turned out better than we all anticipated."

The new courts have a glass side wall and glass back walls, allowing much greater viewing than before.

The ties of Lewis and Griffin and his family to Sioux Falls are firmly rooted. Lewis was established downtown in 1942 as the first self-service drug store in South Dakota. Griffin's father, John, was one of the retailer's three founders. The debut of the first outlet was followed by the opening of eight other regional stores, each offering a wide variety of general merchandise in addition to prescription and over-the-counter drugs.

Mark Griffin was named CEO in 1983. In 1998, in a partnership with Sanford Health, Lewis acquired 11 Family Drug Stores.

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Title Annotation:State of the Industry
Publication:Chain Drug Review
Geographic Code:1U4SD
Date:Apr 27, 2015
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