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Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania Launches Program with Local Pediatricians to Combat Childhood Obesity

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August 19, 2010

The Good Health Club Physician Toolkit SM Addresses the Rise in Childhood Obesity, Diabetes

Wilkes-Barre, August 19, 2010  – Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania today announced a new effort designed to foster better communication between pediatricians and families on childhood obesity and diabetes prevention.  The Good Health Club Physician ToolkitSM — a comprehensive set of educational materials — will be available to pediatricians in Northeastern and North Central Pennsylvania in time for back-to-school physician visits prior to the 2010-2011 school year.  This effort is being launched in collaboration with the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association (BCBSA) and Blue companies nationwide

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in the last two decades type 2 diabetes (formerly known as adult-onset diabetes) has been reported among U.S. children and adolescents with increasing frequency.  One in three U.S. children born in 2000 could develop diabetes during their lifetime and the prevalence of obesity among children aged 6 to 11 more than doubled in the past 20 years, increasing from 6.5 percent in 1980 to 17 percent in 2006.

Locally in BCNEPA’s service area, more than 700 students had a medical diagnosis of either type 1 or type 2 diabetes in the 2007-2008 school year, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Health.  Additionally, nearly 52,000 students in BCNEPA’s service area were identified as being overweight or obese after completing a BMI growth screening in the 2007-2008 school year.
The toolkit, developed in consultation with the American Diabetes Association (ADA) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), is available in both English and Spanish and contains tip sheets, wall posters, physician reference materials, tracking sheets, and brochures with educational information.  The materials are designed to encourage pediatric practices to proactively address weight issues with parents and children and provide useful information to help parents and children effectively address weight issues that, left unchecked, could result in significant long-term medical issues. 

“Childhood obesity is a significant and growing problem that worsens the health and quality of life of affected children throughout their lives and puts a drain on our society.  By addressing it early we can improve the long-term health of these children, making it more likely that they will become successful, productive adults,” said Denise S. Cesare, president and CEO of BCNEPA.  “It is a complicated problem and it will require many solutions.  This toolkit is the most recent example of our efforts to help fight childhood obesity.” 

In addition to the Good Health Club Physician Toolkit, BCNEPA is working with the Pennsylvania Department of Health to fund the Active Schools grant program, designed to help local schools create programs to increase the daily physical activity of students, and has launched Health e-Tools for Schools, a highly-customized, user-friendly, secure portal designed specifically for school districts. It helps facilitate efforts to create and implement an effective wellness policy and greatly eases burdens created by federal and state mandates including Pennsylvania's Growth Screening Program.

Health e-Tools for Schools is available to any school district in Northeastern and North Central Pennsylvania at a discounted rate thanks to a subsidy program provided by BCNEPA.

Captain Kid’s Health Crew, another BCNEPA school based initiative, teaches children at an early age why it's important to take care of themselves.  A visit from Captain Kid helps children in grades K-3 learn the tools and habits that can lead them on the path to a lifetime of good health. Since its inception, Captain Kid's Health Crew has educated nearly 12,000 children throughout Northeastern and North Central Pennsylvania.

BCNEPA’s Blue Ribbon Foundation has also worked to address childhood obesity, awarding more than $1.4 million dollars in grants to area agencies and organizations since 2005 for obesity-related programs, reaching more than 617,000 children and families.

The Good Health Club Physician Toolkit features messages from the “Good Health Club,” a group of animal characters that encourages children to:
• Eat 5 servings of fruits and vegetables every day
• Limit screen time to 2 hours or less
• Get at least 1 hour of physical activity
• Limit sweetened drinks to 0

To view the Good Health Club Physician Toolkit, please visit

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.

Media Contact:
Anthony Matrisciano