ATLANTA, Feb. 10, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- As a part of its ongoing work to address childhood obesity and promote healthy lifestyles in Georgia, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia (BCBSGa) today announced a three-year, $323,392 grant from its corporate foundation to Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) which will support the organization's proven health and wellness program, Triple Play, at local Clubs throughout the state.
Created by BGCA in 2005 with founding sponsor Coca-Cola, Triple Play: A Game Plan for the Mind, Body and Soul encourages Club members to eat healthier (mind), become more physically active (body) and increase their ability to engage in healthy relationships (soul). To date, more than one million young people have participated in the program.
"We are truly committed to improving the lives of the people we serve and the health of our communities and Boys & Girls Clubs of America shares that commitment," said Morgan Kendrick, president, BCBSGa. "Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia is proud to support the Triple Play program because we know that if we give our kids a healthy start, they can hopefully avoid life-long health issues and spend their time achieving their dreams."
The Georgia-focused funds are part of a $5 million grant from the parent company's Foundation, which will support Triple Play programming in all 50 states and several Triple Play-related initiatives in 2011. These include an attempt to break a physical activity-related Guinness World Record and helping Club families get healthy through the second annual Triple Play Fit Family Challenge.
Boys & Girls Club of America estimates that the grant will benefit more than 1,620 youth throughout Georgia.
"Too many children are not eating smart and getting the proper amount of exercise," said Wayne Moss, senior director, Sports, Fitness & Recreation, BGCA. "Our Triple Play program directly addresses this issue by teaching kids fun ways to stay active, setting the stage for a lifetime of healthy habits."
Triple Play is proven to improve lifestyles and behaviors. A two year study of more than 2,000 children ages 9-14 showed that Triple Play succeeded in getting them to exercise more, eat healthier foods and feel better about themselves. The study found that Triple Play kids increased to 90 percent of the federally recommended amount of daily exercise, which is 60 minutes a day for children, while their peers outside the program decreased to 78 percent.
The grant is an important part of BCBSGa's commitment to addressing health disparities and improving public health throughout the state. Through its State Health Index – a compilation of public health measures – the health plan continually works to identify the issues most in need of attention and directs its charitable support and volunteer efforts toward improving health in those areas.
"The State Health Index truly guides and shapes our work throughout Georgia," said Robert McCormack, medical director for BCBSGa. "By tracking our progress year-over-year we are working to make sure that the programs we support and the fine work of our non-profit partners really is improving health."
"The short- and long-term dangers associated with childhood obesity bring special importance to our work with Boys & Girls Club of America. We are excited to partner with our local Clubs to help them to head off one of the country's most pressing health challenges," McCormack continued.
More information about the Triple Play program is available at www.bgca.org/tripleplay.
About the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia Foundation
Through charitable grant making, the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia Foundation LLC, an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, promotes Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia's inherent commitment to enhance the health and well-being of individuals and families in communities that the company serves. The Foundation focuses its funding on strategic initiatives that address and provide innovative solutions to health care challenges, as well as promoting the Healthy Generations Program, a multi-generational initiative that targets specific disease states and medical conditions. These include: prenatal care in the first trimester, low birth weight babies, cardiac morbidity rates, long term activities that decrease obesity and increase physical activity, diabetes prevalence in adult populations, adult pneumococcal and influenza vaccinations and smoking cessation. The Foundation also coordinates the company's annual associate giving campaign and its parent foundation provides a 50 percent match of associates' campaign pledges. The Blue Cross and Blue Shield names and symbols are registered marks of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. To learn more about the Foundation please visit www.wellpointfoundation.org
About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia:
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia, Inc. and Blue Cross and Blue Shield Healthcare Plan of Georgia, Inc. are independent licensees of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association® . The Blue Cross and Blue Shield names and symbols are registered marks of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Additional information about Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia is available at www.bcbsga.com. Also, follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/healthjoinin, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/HealthJoinInBCBSGa, visit our YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/healthjoinin or check out the Our Health Connects Us campaign site at http://connects.bcbsga.com/.
About Boys & Girls Clubs of America
For more than 100 years, Boys & Girls Clubs of America (www.bgca.org) has changed and saved lives, enabling young people to achieve great futures as productive, caring, responsible citizens. Today, some 4,000 Boys & Girls Clubs serve some 4 million children and teens through Club membership and community outreach. Clubs are located in neighborhoods throughout the country and on U.S. military installations worldwide, providing a wide variety of youth development programs conducted by trained, professional staff. Key programs emphasize academic success, good character and citizenship, and healthy lifestyles. In a Harris Survey of alumni, 57 percent said the Club saved their lives. National headquarters are located in Atlanta.
SOURCE Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia