Matthew Stafford and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan continue the fight against childhood obesity

October 4, 2011

DETROIT — Detroit Lions quarterback, Matthew Stafford, in continuation of his partnership with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, surprised more than 200 students at Pleasant View Magnet School in Lansing today. During Stafford’s visit, he spoke with students about the importance of being active and staying healthy and led them in pregame exercises.

“I think it’s important to connect with kids at a young age about living a healthy lifestyle so we can positively impact their future and help them live longer, happier lives,” said Stafford. “I hope my partnership with Blue Cross helps get kids excited and engaged about getting up off the couch and making healthy lifestyle choices. I have visited several Michigan schools over the past couple of years and it is really gratifying to interact with kids and inspire them to be healthy.”

According to the 2010 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation “F as in Fat Report,” the number of obese children ages 6-11 has quadrupled, and the number of obese adolescents ages 12-19 has tripled since 1970. BCBSM together with Matthew Stafford are dedicated to a long-term partnership to combat childhood obesity in Michigan. This event marks Stafford’s fourth visit with school children as part of his continued partnership with the Blues.

“Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan is excited to continue partnering with Matthew Stafford on childhood obesity prevention,” said Ken Dallafior, BCBSM senior vice president of group sales and corporate marketing. “Matthew has inspired many children in Michigan to get outside and be active. His passion for the cause is clear when he interacts with children about the importance of making healthy choices. The Blues are leading Michigan to a healthier future, and we appreciate Matthew’s partnership with us to address childhood obesity.”

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan has been combating childhood obesity through its Building Healthy Communities and related grants since 2004 and has awarded nearly $4.3 million to schools and community partners statewide. In 2011 alone, the Blues awarded grants of $20,000 to $50,000 to 24 Michigan schools and their community partners. More than 24,000 Michigan kids have been impacted by the program since 2009.

As part of BCBSM’s BHC program, there will be a continued emphasis on physical activity and nutrition education in each of the schools throughout the year. The Blues hope their partnership with Stafford will increase awareness of the importance of childhood obesity and further encourage Michigan children to make healthy choices.

Pleasant View students spent the morning learning about simple and fun ways to stay active and get plenty of exercise. Following brief remarks, Stafford led students in football warm-up drills, stretching and agility and aerobic exercises similar to how the Detroit Lions prepare for practice on a daily basis.

“Today was a great opportunity to call kids to action and get them exercising and involved in physical activities. Many thanks to Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Matthew Stafford for inviting us and making today possible,” said Madeline Shanahan, principal from Pleasant View Elementary School in Lansing.”

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Matthew Stafford will continue to work together to educate children and their parents about how to stay active and be healthy. The Blues partnership is part of the company’s unique social mission committed to creating a healthier Michigan by improving health status and increasing access to quality health care services. To learn more about the Blues’ Building Healthy Communities grant program, visit our grant page.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, a nonprofit organization, provides and administers health benefits to nearly 4.3 million members residing in Michigan in addition to members of Michigan-headquartered groups who reside outside the state. 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

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