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Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania Joins PA Departments of Health and Education to Showcase Active Schools Program

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January 29, 2010

Event at Hanover Area Junior/Senior High School highlights success

January 29, Wilkes-Barre, PA —  Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania (BCNEPA) and the Pennsylvania Departments of Health and Education joined today to applaud the early success of a new grant program designed to promote fitness and curb the Commonwealth’s childhood obesity epidemic.

BCNEPA President and CEO Denise Cesare and state officials gathered this afternoon in the Hanover Area Junior/Senior High School’s gym to see the Active Schools Program in action. Ms. Cesare, Health Secretary Everette James and Education Secretary Dr. Gerald Zahorchak praised Hanover Area for its efforts to increase physical activity among its seventh-graders.

“It’s wonderful to see you all so enthusiastic about the Active Schools program,” Cesare told the students.  “If you’re active now when you are young, you’re more likely to be active and healthier as an adult, and that’s why Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania is so pleased to bring this program to you.”

State and national health experts currently consider obesity an epidemic among children. In the Commonwealth, nearly 33 percent of students in grades K-6 are either overweight or obese, according to data submitted by Pennsylvania schools to the state Department of Health.

In response, the Active Schools Program was launched last summer to offer grants up to $15,000 to middle schools throughout the Commonwealth to help them purchase equipment and introduce a structured physical activity program for their students.  Schools applied for $5,000 through the Department of Health, with local schools eligible for a $10,000 match from BCNEPA. 

In addition to Hanover Area, four other schools in BCNEPA’s service area also received a $15,000 Active Schools Grant for the current academic year.  Other recipients include the Weatherly Area Elementary/Middle School in Carbon County, Clear Run Intermediate School and Swiftwater Intermediate School in Monroe County, and Wayne Highlands Middle School in Wayne County.

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About Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania
Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association headquartered in Wilkes-Barre.  It offers a comprehensive portfolio of health insurance products and administrative services to approximately 600,000 individuals in 13 counties in northeastern and north central Pennsylvania.  The company’s mission is to provide innovative solutions that support more affordable health care, promote personal accountability for health and wellness, and offer superior service and partnership to employers, members, and providers.

Anthony Matrisciano
Phone: 570-200-6310