CHAPEL HILL, N.C. In an effort to help reduce childhood obesity and prevent future cases of diabetes, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (BCBSNC) is participating in the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association’s Pediatric Obesity and Diabetes Prevention Pilot Program.
The program consists of an easy-to-use obesity and diabetes prevention toolkit designed for physicians. The toolkit was developed with the American Diabetes Association (ADA), the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to encourage healthy choices and behaviors. BCBSNC along with Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans in Kansas City, Mississippi, New Mexico and Texas are participating in the program.
The Journal of the American Medical Association reported that the prevalence of obesity among children ages six to 11 has more than doubled in the past 20 years from 6.5 percent in 1980 to 17 percent in 2006. A 2007 Youth Risk Behavior Survey found 30 percent of North Carolina youth in grades ninth to 12th are either overweight or obese.
“We have been trying to impact the growing crisis of childhood obesity. Blue Cross of North Carolina was one of the first insurers in the nation to treat obesity as a medical condition by offering nutrition counseling visits for our customers. Our involvement in this pilot program supports the company’s work in making a significant difference in improving the health and well-being of children,” said BCBSNC chief medical officer, Dr. Don Bradley.
The toolkit is a compilation of materials that display healthy messages from The Good Health Club, a group of animal characters. The Good Health Club encourages kids to:
- Eat five servings of fruits and vegetables every day
- Limit daily television and computer screen time to two hours or less
- Get at least one hour of daily physical activity
- Eliminate sweetened drinks from diet
BCBSNC will distribute 500 toolkits to pediatricians statewide as a way to support local doctors in their efforts to educate parents about childhood obesity.
BCBSA and BCBSNC will collect feedback and findings from physicians through discussion and surveys. Upon conclusion of the pilot, BCBSA will use North Carolina’s findings and other pilot participants to create a nationally available toolkit to assist physicians, children and families in reducing childhood obesity and preventing future cases of diabetes.
About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina:
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina is a leader in delivering innovative health care products, services and information to more than 3.7 million members, including approximately 900,000 served on behalf of other Blue Plans. For 76 years, the company has served its customers by offering health insurance at a competitive price and has served the people of North Carolina through support of community organizations, programs and events that promote good health. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Access BCBSNC online at bcbsnc.com.