Blue Cross Blue Shield of Missouri Foundation Commits $800,000 Toward Tobacco and Obesity Prevention

School Wellness Pilot Program Aimed at Educating Missouri School Children



May 02, 2006, 01:00 ET from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Missouri

    ST. LOUIS, May 2 /PRNewswire/ -- School children throughout Missouri
 will participate in tobacco prevention education and be helped in their
 battle against obesity through a public-private partnership. The Blue Cross
 Blue Shield of Missouri Foundation, the charitable giving arm of Blue Cross
 Blue Shield of Missouri, now known as Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, is
 funding a pilot school wellness program with a $550,000 grant over a
 three-year period. Missouri Legislature House Bill 568 mandates that
 selected school districts in the state establish a "Model School Wellness
 Program" promoting healthy lifestyles beginning with the 2005-2006 school
 year.
     "Obesity, poor fitness and use of tobacco not only affect our
 children's self-esteem and school performance -- they also cost our state
 hundreds of millions of dollars in health care costs," Missouri Governor
 Matt Blunt said. "My statewide initiative recognizes that the solution to
 our battle against childhood obesity and tobacco use starts with education,
 and this school wellness program is an important step in making sure kids
 and parents are informed about healthy nutrition, exercise and the ill
 effects of tobacco."
     These programs will include tobacco prevention education and the
 promotion of balanced dietary patterns and physical activity to prevent
 obesity. The new law requires hands on professional development and a
 performance evaluation after the 2005-2006 school year that will measure
 changes in body mass index and changes in knowledge, attitudes and
 behaviors related to nutrition, physical activity and tobacco use. The
 obesity prevention element will cover kindergarten through fifth grades.
 The tobacco prevention initiative will focus on fourth and fifth grades.
     Using the i4 Learning's Healthy School Solutions - Model School
 Wellness program, the Institute for America's Health (IAH) of Tallahassee,
 Fla., has been awarded a grant to implement the program in collaboration
 with school districts in the following areas: Columbia, Perryville,
 Springfield, St. Louis County, and Jefferson City. Training is under way.
     The Institute for America's Health has overseen similar programs
 throughout the nation. The programs, Science, Tobacco, and You (ST&Y) and
 Wellness, Academics and You (WAY) are science-based interventions that have
 been rigorously evaluated and proven effective.
     The pilot program is consistent with the goals of Gov. Blunt to use
 public-private partnerships to address the growing obesity problem in
 Missouri, especially among children. The program also complements Anthem
 Blue Cross and Blue Shield's ongoing efforts to combat childhood obesity
 through the Healthy Habits for Healthy Kids program.
     "These programs together support our mission of improving the lives of
 the people we serve and the health of our communities," said Stuart
 Campbell, president, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Missouri. "Both
 programs reflect our commitment to empowering families with information and
 resources to live healthier lives."
     Last fall, in a program separate from the school wellness pilot
 program, the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Missouri Foundation donated $250,000
 to fund more than 500,000 copies of Healthy Habits for Healthy Kids, an
 educational nutrition and physical activity guide to be distributed on
 behalf of the Office of Governor Blunt, in partnership with the Missouri
 Department of Health, the Missouri Chapter of the American Academy of
 Pediatricians, the Missouri Chapter of the Academy of Family Physicians,
 the Missouri Nurse Association, the Missouri State Medical Association and
 the Missouri Association of Osteopathic Physicians and Surgeons.
     The guides were offered free of charge to health care professionals for
 use with their patients throughout Missouri, where the number of overweight
 and obese children has doubled in the last decade. The guides are available
 in both English and Spanish.
     Healthy Habits for Healthy Kids stresses family participation and
 provides practical strategies for engaging the entire family in healthy
 eating and physical activity. The guide provides easy-to-follow tips and
 tricks for healthy living, including:
     *  The "Healthy Habits Quiz" to identify where a family may want to make
        changes
     *  Information about how to set healthy, realistic goals
     *  A guide to nutritious foods
     *  Ways to include more physical activity in a daily routine
     *  Healthy hints for eating out with kids
     Physicians in Missouri also received a free body mass index wheel and
 patient counseling guideline. This reference tool gives doctors suggested
 talking points to cover with parents regarding specific topics, such as
 breast feeding practices, optimal fruit and vegetable intake, and weight
 management strategies for kids.
     Healthy Habits for Healthy Kids is available free in electronic format
 in both English and Spanish at http://www.bcbsmo.com/healt_links/index.html
 . More than 1 million guides have been distributed by the company's parent
 company throughout the nation.
     As part of the pilot school wellness program, the Blue Cross Blue
 Shield of Missouri Foundation will be providing an additional 6,000 guides
 to IAH for use by parents and their families.
     The Institute for America's Health is a 501c3 organization whose
 mission is to enhance the health of America's youth through research and
 education.
     About Blue Cross Blue Shield of Missouri Foundation
     Blue Cross Blue Shield of Missouri Foundation focuses on initiatives
 that will make health care more accessible and affordable, improve quality
 of care, support the development of health-related public policy, and help
 establish best practices in medicine. The Foundation focuses on developing
 social investment programs and partnering with nonprofit public charities
 whose projects and programs closely align with Anthem Blue Cross and Blue
 Shield's health care priorities.
 
 

SOURCE Blue Cross Blue Shield of Missouri
    ST. LOUIS, May 2 /PRNewswire/ -- School children throughout Missouri
 will participate in tobacco prevention education and be helped in their
 battle against obesity through a public-private partnership. The Blue Cross
 Blue Shield of Missouri Foundation, the charitable giving arm of Blue Cross
 Blue Shield of Missouri, now known as Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, is
 funding a pilot school wellness program with a $550,000 grant over a
 three-year period. Missouri Legislature House Bill 568 mandates that
 selected school districts in the state establish a "Model School Wellness
 Program" promoting healthy lifestyles beginning with the 2005-2006 school
 year.
     "Obesity, poor fitness and use of tobacco not only affect our
 children's self-esteem and school performance -- they also cost our state
 hundreds of millions of dollars in health care costs," Missouri Governor
 Matt Blunt said. "My statewide initiative recognizes that the solution to
 our battle against childhood obesity and tobacco use starts with education,
 and this school wellness program is an important step in making sure kids
 and parents are informed about healthy nutrition, exercise and the ill
 effects of tobacco."
     These programs will include tobacco prevention education and the
 promotion of balanced dietary patterns and physical activity to prevent
 obesity. The new law requires hands on professional development and a
 performance evaluation after the 2005-2006 school year that will measure
 changes in body mass index and changes in knowledge, attitudes and
 behaviors related to nutrition, physical activity and tobacco use. The
 obesity prevention element will cover kindergarten through fifth grades.
 The tobacco prevention initiative will focus on fourth and fifth grades.
     Using the i4 Learning's Healthy School Solutions - Model School
 Wellness program, the Institute for America's Health (IAH) of Tallahassee,
 Fla., has been awarded a grant to implement the program in collaboration
 with school districts in the following areas: Columbia, Perryville,
 Springfield, St. Louis County, and Jefferson City. Training is under way.
     The Institute for America's Health has overseen similar programs
 throughout the nation. The programs, Science, Tobacco, and You (ST&Y) and
 Wellness, Academics and You (WAY) are science-based interventions that have
 been rigorously evaluated and proven effective.
     The pilot program is consistent with the goals of Gov. Blunt to use
 public-private partnerships to address the growing obesity problem in
 Missouri, especially among children. The program also complements Anthem
 Blue Cross and Blue Shield's ongoing efforts to combat childhood obesity
 through the Healthy Habits for Healthy Kids program.
     "These programs together support our mission of improving the lives of
 the people we serve and the health of our communities," said Stuart
 Campbell, president, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Missouri. "Both
 programs reflect our commitment to empowering families with information and
 resources to live healthier lives."
     Last fall, in a program separate from the school wellness pilot
 program, the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Missouri Foundation donated $250,000
 to fund more than 500,000 copies of Healthy Habits for Healthy Kids, an
 educational nutrition and physical activity guide to be distributed on
 behalf of the Office of Governor Blunt, in partnership with the Missouri
 Department of Health, the Missouri Chapter of the American Academy of
 Pediatricians, the Missouri Chapter of the Academy of Family Physicians,
 the Missouri Nurse Association, the Missouri State Medical Association and
 the Missouri Association of Osteopathic Physicians and Surgeons.
     The guides were offered free of charge to health care professionals for
 use with their patients throughout Missouri, where the number of overweight
 and obese children has doubled in the last decade. The guides are available
 in both English and Spanish.
     Healthy Habits for Healthy Kids stresses family participation and
 provides practical strategies for engaging the entire family in healthy
 eating and physical activity. The guide provides easy-to-follow tips and
 tricks for healthy living, including:
     *  The "Healthy Habits Quiz" to identify where a family may want to make
        changes
     *  Information about how to set healthy, realistic goals
     *  A guide to nutritious foods
     *  Ways to include more physical activity in a daily routine
     *  Healthy hints for eating out with kids
     Physicians in Missouri also received a free body mass index wheel and
 patient counseling guideline. This reference tool gives doctors suggested
 talking points to cover with parents regarding specific topics, such as
 breast feeding practices, optimal fruit and vegetable intake, and weight
 management strategies for kids.
     Healthy Habits for Healthy Kids is available free in electronic format
 in both English and Spanish at http://www.bcbsmo.com/healt_links/index.html
 . More than 1 million guides have been distributed by the company's parent
 company throughout the nation.
     As part of the pilot school wellness program, the Blue Cross Blue
 Shield of Missouri Foundation will be providing an additional 6,000 guides
 to IAH for use by parents and their families.
     The Institute for America's Health is a 501c3 organization whose
 mission is to enhance the health of America's youth through research and
 education.
     About Blue Cross Blue Shield of Missouri Foundation
     Blue Cross Blue Shield of Missouri Foundation focuses on initiatives
 that will make health care more accessible and affordable, improve quality
 of care, support the development of health-related public policy, and help
 establish best practices in medicine. The Foundation focuses on developing
 social investment programs and partnering with nonprofit public charities
 whose projects and programs closely align with Anthem Blue Cross and Blue
 Shield's health care priorities.
 
 SOURCE Blue Cross Blue Shield of Missouri