Michigan elementary schools can apply for funding from the Building Healthy Communities program to promote healthy eating and physical activity

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, Wayne State University College of Education and Michigan Fitness Foundation combine expertise and resources for greater impact on obesity prevention

January 18, 2012

DETROIT — Michigan elementary schools can now apply for the Building Healthy Communities grant program, which offers schools support to boost children's health, improve school performance and stem the growing economic and health care tidal wave of obesity.

The Building Healthy Communities grant program, which is an expanded, multi-sector partnership between Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, the Wayne State University Center for School Health in the College of Education and the Michigan Fitness Foundation, is accepting applications from schools interested in promoting lifelong healthy habits among schoolchildren.

Blue Cross began the Building Healthy Communities grant program in 2009, providing grants to schools across the state to get kids moving, eating healthier and adopting healthy lifestyles. The next phase of the program is a partnership with WSU and MFF to enhance physical activity and nutrition education in schools and provide culturally relevant information and resources. It also will help school staff and youth leadership promote school transformation, and provide family education.

Each awarded school will receive a healthy school support package valued at $30,000 in the form of mentoring, program materials, curriculum assistance, exercise equipment, technical support and professional development training from the WSU Center for School Health, and evidence-based materials developed at the Michigan Fitness Foundation.

All public (including charter) and private nonprofit schools in Michigan are eligible to apply. A special focus will be given to schools in the greater southeast Michigan region, as well as schools educating students from low-income communities.

Applications are due by March 30, 2012. The Request for Applications and the application are available at coe.wayne.edu/centerforschoolhealth/programs.php.

In addition, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, the Center for School Health and the Michigan Fitness Foundation are seeking additional partners to extend the program’s reach and impact, especially in Michigan's most underserved communities.

Building Healthy Communities integrates best practices and evidence-based initiatives to make a difference in the health and health risks of Michigan children — one school at a time.

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

Wayne State University is a premier urban research university offering more than 400 academic programs through 13 schools and colleges to nearly 32,000 students.

The Michigan Fitness Foundation is a 501(c)3 public, non-profit foundation that promotes healthy lifestyles through physical education, physical activity, nutrition education and active community programs. PE-Nut and EPEC are whole-school, standards-based curricula that are nationally recognized and considered best in the field.

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