Michigan Department of Community Health and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan invest in Building Healthy Communities program to reduce obesity and improve children's health statewide

School applications will be accepted through August 20

Jul 28, 2014, 10:00 ET from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan

LANSING, Mich., July 28, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan is pleased to announce that beginning today the Michigan Department of Community Health is partnering with the statewide Building Healthy Communities program, a private-public initiative designed to fight obesity and improve childhood wellness through school-based programming.   

"The Michigan Department of Community Health is proud to join forces with our Michigan partners to support and expand the successful Building Healthy Communities program in the fight against childhood obesity," said MDCH Director James K. Haveman. "We know that by creating healthy habits earlier in life, we have a stronger chance of continuing those habits into adulthood. This program provides our youth with the tools for building their healthy futures, and effectively tackling the issue of obesity to make Michigan a healthier, stronger state."

MDCH and BCBSM are committed to improving children's physical health, increase academic success and help stem the growing economic and health care burden of childhood obesity in the state. The Building Healthy Communities program is an evidence-based, comprehensive, school-wide initiative that aligns with the Michigan Health and Wellness 4 x 4 Plan and works with schools and their communities to teach kids healthy habits and address childhood obesity.

Child health experts have repeatedly called for schools to provide healthier school environments that support nutrition education, access to nutrient rich food and beverages, physical activity and physical education – all pillars used in developing, and emphasized in, the Building Healthy Communities program. By joining together to provide funding for this program, BCBSM and MDCH will achieve a greater impact -reaching more students, in more schools, across the state.

"The Building Healthy Communities program provides real value for the monetary contribution because it's an investment that can help families get healthier, improve quality of life and reduce health care costs for taxpayers," said State Rep. Matt Lori of Constantine, who played a key role in identifying funds for MDCH to support the program. "We're bringing together private organizations and the public sector to use the best research and methods so we can make progress in the fight against childhood obesity. This is an investment that will pay off for Michigan and help us build healthier futures for our families together."

To expand the opportunity to more schools and children, a second application period has been opened for schools to apply for the Building Healthy Communities program for the upcoming 2014-2015 school year. All public, charter and nonprofit private schools in Michigan are encouraged to apply for the program by August 20, 2014. 

Schools interested in applying for the Building Healthy Communities program can join an informational conference call on August 5 at 1 p.m. or August 12 at 1 p.m. To join, call 800-462-5837 and enter pass code 210301#.  Those interested in applying can also email buildhealth@bcbsm.com or call 517-325-4595 for additional information. Schools receiving the program will be announced in September.

"This great program helps healthy habits start early, encouraging students to make the healthy choice the easy choice," said Majority Floor Leader Jim Stamas, R-Midland.  "I'm very pleased with the efforts of the Governor in joining forces with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan to make an already great program even more impactful."

MDCH now joins BCBSM, the Michigan Fitness Foundation, University of Michigan, United Dairy Industry of Michigan and Wayne State University in the effort to instill healthy habits with Michigan children through the Building Healthy Communities program.

For more information on the Building Healthy Communities program and application process, visit www.bcbsm.com/buildhealth.  For more information about the Michigan Health and Wellness 4 x 4 Plan, visit www.michigan.gov/healthymichigan.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, a nonprofit mutual insurance company, is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. BCBSM provides and administers health benefits to more than 4.4 million members residing in Michigan in addition to employees of Michigan-headquartered companies who reside outside the state. For more company information, visit bcbsm.com and MiBluesPerspectives.com.


SOURCE Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan