Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Virginia Teams With the Alliance for a Healthier Generation to Offer Comprehensive Health Benefits to Combat Childhood Obesity
RICHMOND, Va., May 18 /PRNewswire/ -- Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Virginia has renewed its commitment to the health and well being of children by collaborating with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, a joint initiative between the American Heart Association and the William J. Clinton Foundation, to provide comprehensive health benefits for the prevention, assessment and treatment of childhood obesity.
Anthem joins the Alliance for a Healthier Generation's Healthcare Initiative, a collaborative effort with national medical associations, leading insurers, and employers to enable families to work with their primary care physicians and registered dietitians to achieve lifelong health. By doing so, approximately half a million children in Virginia will have access to this very important care.
"For many years, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield has been committed to championing efforts that empower children and their families to make better informed choices about their health and wellness," said C. Burke King, president, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield. "Studies prove that a family's choices around healthy eating, nutrition and commitment to an active lifestyle can set the course for children to become healthy adults. We need to do all we can to provide children with the tools they need to be successful."
Eligible children will have access to four follow up visits with their primary care provider and four visits with a registered dietitian per year. These healthcare professionals will work with children and their families on how to establish and maintain a healthy lifestyle. The Virginia Department of Health's CHAMPION (Commonwealth's Healthy Approach and Mobilization Plan for Inactivity, Obesity and Nutrition) obesity prevention program will provide Anthem with tools and resources for communicating age-appropriate nutrition, physical activity, and health messages to children and families.
"Increasing collaboration around childhood obesity prevention efforts is essential," says Virginia State Health Commissioner, Karen Remley M.D., MBA, FAAP. "This innovative program, with a focus on public/private partnership and promoting effective prevention strategies, is a critical step in effectively addressing childhood obesity in Virginia."
The pilot program will be implemented in Virginia and will target children 3-18 years of age found to be at or above the 85th body mass index percentile for age. Select pediatric practices will be invited to participate in the pilot.
"The Alliance Healthcare Initiative is the first effort of its kind to bring together health insurance companies, employers, and professional organizations to both provide preventative care for youth as well as add to the science base on childhood obesity through a national evaluation of the effort," said Ginny Ehrlich, executive director of the Alliance for a Healthier Generation. "We look forward to working with Anthem to make certain that eligible families in Virginia are aware of and take advantage of this benefit."
Launched in February 2009, the Alliance Healthcare Initiative marks a major step forward in a holistic approach to reduce childhood obesity in the United States. Since the launch of the Initiative, more than 1.5 million children have access to this benefit option. The long-term goal of the Alliance Healthcare Initiative is that more than six million children (25 percent of all overweight and obese children in the U.S.) will have access to this benefit by 2012.
About Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield
Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield is the trade name of Anthem Health Plans of Virginia, Inc. (serving Virginia excluding the City of Fairfax, the Town of Vienna and the area east of State Route 123.). Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield and its affiliated HMOs, HealthKeepers, Inc., Peninsula Health Care, Inc. and Priority Health Care, Inc. are independent licensees of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association. ®ANTHEM is a registered trademark of Anthem Insurance Companies, Inc. The Blue Cross and Blue Shield names and symbols are registered marks of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Additional information about Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Virginia is available at www.anthem.com.
About the Alliance for a Healthier Generation
The American Heart Association and the William J. Clinton Foundation joined forces in May of 2005 to create a healthier generation by addressing one of the nation's leading public health threats – childhood obesity. The goal of the Alliance is to reduce the nationwide prevalence of childhood obesity by 2015, and to empower kids nationwide to make healthy lifestyle choices. The Alliance works to positively affect the places that can make a difference to a child's health: homes, schools, restaurants, doctor's offices and communities. For more information please visit: HealthierGeneration.org.
SOURCE Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield