Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan offers funding for elementary school programs focused on reducing childhood obesity

Building Healthy Communities grants available for physical activity and nutrition programs

January 20, 2010

DETROIT - Childhood obesity in America is a major public health issue. Blue Cross Blue Shield, committed to building a healthier Michigan, is partnering with schools across the state to get kids moving and eating healthier. The Blues are accepting grant proposals from public and nonprofit private elementary schools in Michigan for programs that increase physical activity and improve nutrition among their student population. The grants are part of the Blues' 2010-2011 Building Healthy Communities: Engaging Elementary Schools and their Community Partners program. Funding amounts are anticipated to range from $20,000 to $50,000 per school.

Proposed programs require four elements: health assessments, physical activity and nutrition education, a walking club and a 5K run or walk. Together, these elements are most successful in helping elementary students, staff and parents achieve healthier lifestyles, according to environmental assessments by the Blues' Health Policy and Social Mission department.

The Blues prefer proposals that assure parent and community engagement, and schools proposing community partnerships have better chance of funding. The company encourages and supports collaborative approaches to obesity prevention and aims to build partnerships that continue past the grant period.

"Blue Cross is committed to building a healthier Michigan. By targeting childhood obesity, we believe we can positively impact behavior and healthy choices because lifestyle habits are formed at an early age. This will increase the likelihood of a healthier adult population, leading to improved quality of life and reduced health care costs," explained Lynda Rossi, Blues vice president for Social Mission and Public Affairs.

Grant information and downloadable forms are available at bcbsm.com. Schools must submit an online notice of intent to apply for the grant by Feb. 12. The full grant proposal is due online by midnight on Sunday, March 14 and postmarked by Monday, March 15 by postal mail. Both forms of submission are required.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan has a unique mission that is different from other health insurance companies. The company is committed to focusing on reducing health care costs and improving quality, increasing access to health care coverage and services, and improving the health status of Michigan's residents, particularly children.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, a nonprofit organization, provides and administers health benefits to 4.7 million members residing in Michigan in addition to members of Michigan-headquartered groups who reside outside the state. The company offers a broad variety of plans including: Traditional Blue Cross Blue Shield; Blue Preferred®;, Community Blue℠ and Healthy Blue Incentives℠ PPOs; Blue Care Network HMO; BCN Healthy Blue Living℠; Flexible Blue℠plans compatible with health savings accounts; Medicare Advantage; Part D Prescription Drug plans, and MyBlue℠ products in the under-age-65 individual market. BCBSM also offers dental, vision and hearing plans. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Blue Care Network are nonprofit corporations and independent licensees of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. For more company information, visit bcbsm.com.

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