Independence Blue Cross Continues Support for Pennsylvania's Active Schools Program

Friday, August 27, 2010 Education News
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Funding for students in grades K-6 aims to get kids exercising 30 minutes a day

PHILADELPHIA,  Aug. 26 /PRNewswire/ -- Independence Blue Cross (IBC) is continuing the partnership it launched last year with the Pennsylvania

Departments of Health and Education to support the state's Active Schools fitness program, which aims to reduce childhood obesity and increase student exercise. IBC will provide $80,000 in funding to eight regional elementary schools that the state has selected to receive grants. Each school will receive $10,000. Last year, IBC contributed to the program to support 10 middle school fitness initiatives.  

The Department of Health will also provide each school with a $5,000 grant through the federal Preventive Health and Health Services Block Grant. Funding is for the 2010-2011 school year.

"The unfortunate fact is that more people are becoming obese each year. Unless we take some serious and immediate action, especially with our youngsters who are increasingly at risk, we're not going to see an end to this frightening epidemic anytime soon," said Joseph A. Frick, president and chief executive officer of Independence Blue Cross. "Active Schools programs are fun and challenging, and best of all, they help make exercise a daily habit for kids, one that will hopefully last a lifetime."

More Pennsylvanians are obese than the national average, according to a recent report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  Nearly 32 percent of students in Pennsylvania are overweight or obese, a statistic that worries educators, health professionals, and parents, among others.  

Through the statewide program, students in participating schools will increase their organized school physical activity to 30 minutes daily instead of twice a week like most other schools. Last year, schools used the grant funds to help buy exercise equipment, such as HOPSports, which combines fitness with video and music, and lets students work out at their own pace and ability.

The following schools will receive Active Schools funding from IBC for the 2010-2011 school year:

  • Alliance for Progress Charter School -- Philadelphia county
  • Delcroft Elementary School -- Delaware county
  • Harris Elementary -- Delaware county
  • Sharon Hill Elementary -- Delaware county
  • Darby Township Elementary -- Delaware county
  • Kindergarten Center -- Delaware county
  • Woodlyn Elementary -- Delaware county
  • Myers Elementary and Elkins Park Upper Elementary -- Montgomery county

In addition to its support of Active Schools, IBC has several other programs and initiatives to address student health, including:

  • Health eTools for Schools,  a web-based application that provides educational resources and cutting-edge technology, helps schools facilitate health policy requirements, enable better nutrition, and increase physical activity planning for children. To date, more than 384,000 students in more than 700 area schools are enrolled in Health eTools for Schools.
  • Adolescent immunization program encourages children 11-13 to get the important, recommended immunizations they need to maintain good health through targeted efforts such as sending annual immunization reminders to parents of adolescents. More than 72,800 families received these mailings last year.
  • Good 2 B Me is IBC's latest entertaining and educational online resource for children ages 11 to 17. This interactive tool helps children to learn how to make smart choices and live healthier.

About Independence Blue Cross

Independence Blue Cross is a leading health insurer in southeastern Pennsylvania. Nationwide, Independence Blue Cross and its affiliates provide coverage to nearly 3.3 million people. For more than 70 years, Independence Blue Cross has offered high-quality health care coverage tailored to meet the changing needs of members, employers, and health care professionals. Independence Blue Cross's HMO and PPO health care plans have consistently received the highest ratings from the National Committee for Quality Assurance. Independence Blue Cross is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.

SOURCE Independence Blue Cross

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