Asheville, NC -- Buncombe County Schools (BCS) has partnered with MATCH Wellness, Inc., to provide the highly successful MATCH Program, Motivating Adolescents with Technology to CHOOSE Health™ (MATCH), to all seventh-grade students in the school system. The school-based interdisciplinary program empowers adolescents to make healthy choices by focusing on nutrition education and increasing physical activity.

Created by a North Carolina teacher to work within the current school day, MATCH integrates wellness themes into lessons and activities that fit into the existing curriculum. Lessons can be taught in healthful living, science, math, language arts, and social studies.

The MATCH program, set to begin in August with the 2021-22 school year, is funded through Healthy Blue, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina’s (Blue Cross NC) Medicaid managed care plan.

“One of our main priorities as a school system is meeting students’ academic, emotional, and wellness needs” said BCS Associate Superintendent Susanne Swanger. “This program is an outstanding addition to our curriculum. Thanks to the support from Healthy Blue, our students will be empowered to learn more about making healthy choices that will have a positive impact now and in their future.”

“MATCH is a research-tested, third-party verified program that gives students the education and tools to make real and lasting improvements in nutrition and fitness to achieve better overall health for themselves,” said Al Delia, CEO of MATCH Wellness, Inc. “Fifteen years of proven results are testament to MATCH’s success.”

In 2016, The NC State Board of Education declared North Carolina a “Whole Child” state - the description used by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Association for Supervisors and Curriculum Development’s (ASCD) school “wellness” model. Whole Child recognizes that meeting the needs of children outside the classroom has a tremendous impact on academic performance and works to connect children and families with community resources.

“Healthy Blue recognizes that investing in the health of our youth is fundamental to improving the long-term health of North Carolinians,” said Jesse Thomas, VP of Medicaid and Chief Executive Officer of Healthy Blue for Blue Cross NC. “We’re proud to support the MATCH program and to help Buncombe County students adopt the nutritional and active habits they need to grow into healthy adults.”

Since its inception in 2007, over 50,000 seventh graders have participated in MATCH. Currently, MATCH is in 17 NC Counties, 69 middle schools, serving almost 11,000 students.

About MATCH Wellness, Inc.

The MATCH Program was created in 2007, when a North Carolina school teacher was disturbed by his county leading the state in premature death due to the impact of obesity on health. The program he developed, MATCH- Motivating Adolescents with Technology to CHOOSE HealthTM, has produced consistent and sustainable improvements in weight status in overweight students, while teaching over 50,000 seventh graders inception. 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 engaging to students, producing unprecedented health outcomes simultaneously. These health outcomes reduce risks of cardiometabolic diseases, resulting in a reduction in health care costs and creating a healthier workforce and population. For more information on MATCH Wellness, visit

About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina:

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (Blue Cross NC) is committed to making health care better, simpler and more affordable. We have been driving better health in North Carolina since 1933, working to tackle our communities’ greatest health challenges. Blue Cross NC serves its customers and communities of more than 3.8 million members, including approximately 1.1 million on behalf of other Blue Plans. Blue Cross NC is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Visit Blue Cross NC online at All other marks are the property of their respective owners.