Healthy Blue Invests $1.5 Million for Expansion of MATCH Wellness Program

Program will empower 7th grade students to make healthy choices for eating and physical activity

GREENVILLE, N.C. – Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (Blue Cross NC) and its Healthy Blue plan, which will serve Medicaid beneficiaries beginning November 1, announced a total investment of $1.5 million to expand the highly successful MATCH Program (Motivating Adolescents with Technology to CHOOSE Health) to nearly 5,000 additional North Carolina 7th grade students. 
 
MATCH is the only school-based wellness program to result in sustainable improvements in weight status by teaching healthy eating and increased physical activity in adolescents. The program will be taught to approximately 11,000 7th grade students in North Carolina starting in August 2019, using a curriculum that meets all state education requirements. Among adolescents in the state, 15.2% are considered overweight while 12.5% are considered obese according to statistics from the CDC. With the addition of the Healthy Blue sponsorship agreement, MATCH will be taught in a total of 74 urban, rural and suburban schools across 14 school districts in North Carolina. 

The two organizations choose participating districts by factors focusing on areas of greatest need including levels of poverty, the number of children eligible for the USDA’s free and reduced breakfast and lunch program, the number of children enrolled in Medicaid or NC Health Choice as well as the geographic and demographic diversity of those school districts being considered.

“As Healthy Blue looks for programs and services to improve health outcomes for North Carolinians, we understand that investing in our kids and teaching them to adopt healthy habits while they’re young will be beneficial to them as they grow into adults,” said Jesse Thomas, VP of Medicaid and Chief Executive of Healthy Blue for Blue Cross NC.

“We’re very pleased that Healthy Blue chose to sponsor our program to help change and improve the health and wellness of so many students in North Carolina schools, and for the rest of their lives,” said Al Delia, CEO of MATCH Wellness, Inc. 

As part of North Carolina’s Medicaid Managed Care Program, Healthy Blue will begin actively signing up Medicaid participants beginning July 1, 2019. 

Any reference in this press release to any person, organization, activity, or services related to North Carolina Medicaid does not constitute or imply the endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. 


About MATCH Wellness: 
MATCH - Motivating Adolescents with Technology to CHOOSE HealthTM, is a program developed by a North Carolina middle school teacher. It has produced consistent and sustainable improvements in weight status in overweight students. More than 23,000 seventh graders have gone through the program since inception in 2007. MATCH uses an interdisciplinary approach to empower students to make healthy choices through lessons in nutrition education and by increasing physical activity. MATCH meets educational objectives of teachers while being fun to students, producing unprecedented health outcomes simultaneously. These health outcomes reduce risks of cardiometabolic diseases, resulting in a reduction in health care costs to create a healthier population. For more information on MATCH Wellness, visit www.matchwellness.com.  

About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina:
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (Blue Cross NC) improves the health and well-being of our customers and communities by providing innovative health care products, services and information to more than 3.9 million members, including approximately 1.1 million served on behalf of other Blue Plans. Since 1933, we have worked to make North Carolina a better place to live through our 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. Visit Blue Cross NC online at bluecrossnc.com. All other marks are the property of their respective owners.

 

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