July 19, 2011
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas Foundation Making $150,000 Available to Schools Through Healthy Habits for Life Grants
With school budgets tighter than ever, the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas Foundation is increasing the dollars available for Healthy Habits for Life grants so more nurses, teachers and administrators can deliver programs that encourage Kansas children to adopt healthy habits.
The Foundation is committing $150,000 to fund Healthy Habits for Life grants which school personnel can use during the 2012 calendar year to help school-aged children reduce their cardiovascular risk, increase their physical activity or learn healthy eating habits. During the past five years, the Foundation has awarded 283 grants in excess of $270,000, including more than $108,000 distributed in December 2010.
“Childhood obesity continues to be a problem in our state and doctors tell us that some school-aged children are starting to develop those chronic conditions once associated only with adults, such as high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes,” said Marlou Wegener, chief operating officer of the BCBSKS Foundation. “Addressing these issues in our schools is only natural as schools are where our young children spend so much of their time and where they are open to learning new, lifelong habits.
Wegener said that past grant recipients have used the funding to purchase pedometers for walking programs, heart rate monitors for physical education classes, nutritional and wellness curriculum and Nintendo Wii game systems to keep children active when inclement weather keeps them inside for recess.
“As budgets remain tight we know that many school districts are struggling to fund basic educational programs,” Wegener said. “By increasing grant funding to $150,000, the BCBSKS Foundation is hoping to help a greater number of schools secure the funds needed to deliver programs that will help put Kansas children on the path to lifelong health.”
Wegener encourages school nurses, physical education, health and family and consumer science teachers, athletics directors, principals and other school personnel to apply for a Healthy Habits for Life grant.
The maximum grant amount is $1,000 and grants are limited to one per school. Healthy Habits for Life grants are available in the service area of the BCBSKS Foundation which includes all Kansas counties except Johnson and Wyandotte.
Applications must be postmarked no later than Oct. 14 with the funds distributed in mid-December. Grant recipients can use the funds for programs offered during the 2012 calendar year.
For more information, visit www.bcbsks.com/foundation or call Wegener at 1-800-432-0216, ext. 7246, or, in Topeka, 291-7246.
The Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas Foundation and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas are independent licensees of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. BCBSKS is the state's largest health insurer, serving all Kansas counties except Johnson and Wyandotte.
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