Free Health Program Provides Ariz. Students With Healthy Nutritional And Fitness Goals
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona launches 8th annual health program to support teachers' efforts in the classroom
PHOENIX, Nov. 6, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Registration for the 2013 Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona's Walk On! Challenge is now open for all fifth-grade teachers across the state. This annual program provides fifth-grade teachers with a consistent plan to support educational efforts and teach the importance of good nutrition, physical activity and overall healthy lifestyle choices.
The Walk On! Challenge is a free health and fitness program implemented in classrooms every February. In conjunction with the Challenge, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona provides information and in-class materials for teachers. Plus participating schools can apply to win one of five $5,000 grants so they can continue teaching the importance of physical education and nutrition all year long.
"Thanks to the Walk On! Challenge, we were able to pique the interest of our students about new ways to exercise while having fun," said Virginia Jones, 2012 grant recipient and fifth-grade teacher at Red Mesa Elementary school in Northern Arizona. "With the grant provided by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona, we purchased sports equipment that our student body hadn't had access to in the past like archery sets, hockey and badminton equipment as well as scooters and rollerblades."
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports that approximately 17 percent (or 12.5 million) of children ages 2-19 are obese. While a study published in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine(1) shows Arizona had the greatest increase of childhood obesity rates of all 50 states between 2003 and 2007. Most alarming are the elevated health risks and social issues impacting these children as a direct result of being overweight.
"The fight to battle childhood obesity requires businesses like BCBSAZ, community partners, schools and physicians all working together to improve the quality of life for Arizona's youth," noted Dr. Vishu Jhaveri, chief medical officer BCBSAZ. The success of Walk On! Challenge is seen in the hundreds of thousands of children reached and the tremendous feedback from teachers. Moving into the year ahead we're taking the momentum of this program to develop new initiatives with even greater reach."
The Walk On! Challenge is open to all fifth-grade classes in Arizona. Registration is required to ensure students who reach the 5-2-1-0 goal at least 15 days in the month will receive their reward and be entered into a drawing for prizes. This year's prizes include drawstring backpacks, iPod® Nanos and gift certificates for sporting equipment.
Fifth-grade teachers and school administration members in Arizona who are interested in registering for the Walk On! Challenge or who want to know more about the grant criteria can visit azblue.com/walkon for additional details. The deadline to register for the program is Dec. 14, 2012.
About Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona (BCBSAZ), an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, is the largest Arizona-based health insurance company. The not-for-profit company was founded in 1939 and provides health insurance products, services or networks to 1.3 million individuals. With offices in Phoenix, Flagstaff, Tucson and the East Valley, the company employs more than 1,300 Arizonans. Follow BCBSAZ at www.facebook.com/bcbsaz or on Twitter at @bcbsaz to get information on health and wellness, a knowledgeable perspective on health insurance reform, and become a part of what we're doing in your community.
SOURCE Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona