Students in 28 schools across Michigan have been selected to participate in the 2013-2014 "Building Healthy Communities" program to establish healthy lifestyles among schoolchildren and create healthy school environments.
The program is a partnership between Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, the Michigan Fitness Foundation, United Dairy Industry of Michigan, University of Michigan and Wayne State University.
“The University of Michigan’s Project Healthy Schools, a middle school-based program designed to reduce childhood obesity and its long-term health risks, is excited to work with so many partners across the state that share the goal of creating healthy school environments and helping students form heart-healthy habits from an early age,” said Dr. Kim Eagle, director of the Samuel and Jean Frankel Cardiovascular Center for the UM Health System.
“The long-term benefits of the Building Healthy Communities program cannot be overstated in terms of its potential to improve the overall health of our citizens today and into the future, reduce health care costs that will benefit all of us, and help generations of Michiganders live healthier, more successful lives," Eagle continued.
The Building Healthy Communities program educates students through classroom lessons, creates an environment that makes the healthy choice the easy choice, encourages students to practice lessons learned in the classroom, provides opportunities for physical activity during and after school and improves access to healthy food and beverages for elementary and middle school students.
Bryant Middle School in Dearborn was chosen to participate in this year's program.
“Congratulations to all the schools that will take part over the next year in our programs designed specifically to help students in elementary and middle schools learn healthy behaviors and practice those lessons in an environment that makes the healthy choice the easy choice,” said Shannon Carney Oleksyk, registered dietitian and healthy living advisor for BCBSM’s social mission.
"All the evidence and data show that when children are healthier, they are more likely to succeed in the classroom and beyond. These programs encourage children to make healthy choices at a young age, laying the foundation for a healthier, stronger Michigan future," she said.
Building Healthy Communities is a comprehensive, school-wide program created to fight childhood obesity. Since the inception of the program in 2009, more than 35,000 students in 83 schools have been reached. For the 2013-2014 year, an additional 12,500 students will be implementing the Building Healthy Communities program.
For more information, visit www.bcbsm.com/buildhealth.