Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield West Virginia approves sponsorship to support production costs of PBS children's health and wellness show

PARKERSBURG, W.Va., June 27, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield West Virginia (Highmark West Virginia) announced today that it is awarding $30,000 to the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine (WVSOM) to assist the school in the production costs associated with season three of Abracadabra, its healthy children's initiative television series.

Abracadabra, which airs weekends on West Virginia Public Broadcasting Station (PBS), is the only children's television series that presents health education, nutrition and science in a fun and entertaining venue through the use of magic, ventriloquism and original songs for children ages 4 to 10. Other important messages are delivered to viewers regarding safety, exercise, friends and family and working together. This half-hour series is hosted by physician, magician and ventriloquist, Michael Adelman, D.O., D.P.M., J.D., president of WVSOM, based in Lewisburg, W.Va.

According to the U.S. Surgeon General, obesity in children has doubled during the past two decades. More than 13 percent of all children are seriously overweight and often develop severe medical problems early in their life. Type 2 diabetes, once associated with middle age, and attributable in large part to poor eating habits and inactivity, is one example of a condition that is now becoming more prevalent in children.

"Medical evidence shows that 70 percent of today's health care burden is related to lifestyle and, therefore, preventable," said Fred Earley, president of Highmark West Virginia. "If we can get children interested or more involved in exercise and nutrition earlier in life, their overall quality of life will greatly improve. By offering this sponsorship to the WVSOM, more children can be reached with this important message, resulting in a healthier start for many young West Virginians."

Highmark West Virginia is committed to helping improve the overall health status of West Virginians through public/private partnerships such as the one now being established with the WVSOM. The company's goal is to educate all West Virginians so that future disease and health problems associated with poor diet and lack of exercise can be reduced by actions taken today.

"WVSOM's healthy children's initiative reflects a commitment to help a younger generation of West Virginians make healthy choices in their lives," said Dr. Adelman. "We appreciate Highmark West Virginia for joining us in this important mission, and we look forward to partnering with them to improve health care throughout the state."

About the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine
WVSOM is nationally ranked #1 in graduating primary care physicians who practice in rural areas, according to Academic Medicine. This commitment to placing physicians where they are needed the most has been at the core of the school's mission since its founding in 1972. To learn more, visit WVSOM online at www.wvsom.edu.

SOURCE Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield West Virginia



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