; BlueCross BlueShield Of Georgia And Claudio Reyna Foundation To Host Kick Start Your Health Event In Atlanta
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Press Release

BlueCross BlueShield Of Georgia And Claudio Reyna Foundation To Host Kick Start Your Health Event In Atlanta

Event to Promote Awareness of Diabetes and Asthma in Multicultural Communities

May 14, 2014

ATLANTA – On Saturday, May 17, BlueCross BlueShield of Georgia and the Claudio Reyna Foundation will host an event in Atlanta as a part of the new Kick Start Your Health program, which aims to motivate families to make lifestyle changes to improve their health.

The Kick Start Your Health program is especially focused on diabetes and asthma because the two diseases disproportionately affect the Hispanic and African American communities in the United States. According to the CDC, diabetes is the fifth leading cause of death among Hispanics in the United States, and the American Diabetes Association found that the lifetime risk to develop diabetes for a Hispanic child born in 2000 in the United States is 50 percent. The Office of Minority Health reported that in 2011 about 3.6 million Hispanics had asthma, and that Hispanic children were 40 percent more likely to die of asthma than non-Hispanic whites. According to the Office of Minority Health, African Americans are twice as likely to be diagnosed with diabetes as non-Hispanic whites and are also more likely to suffer complications like end-stage renal disease and lower extremity amputations. In 2011, 4.3 million non-Hispanic Blacks had asthma, which made them 20 percent more likely to have asthma than non-Hispanic Whites. According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, about 1 in 6 African American children have asthma, the highest rate of any ethnic group.

The event will include soccer clinics with Claudio Reyna; cooking demonstrations with celebrity chef Josh Hopkins and dietitian Sylvia Meléndez-Klinger; biometric screening of children and caregivers, including blood pressure, BMI, glucose and cholesterol; clinical education with licensed health care professionals, including asthma and diabetes educational information and a community resource fair.

“At BlueCross BlueShield of Georgia we are committed to preventing diabetes and asthma by promoting exercise and healthy eating,” said Morgan Kendrick, president of BlueCross BlueShield of Georgia. “We hope the Kick Start Your Health event will create a positive atmosphere for families to be active together and learn more about how to improve their health.”

BCBSGa’s partnership with the Claudio Reyna Foundation began in 2013 with a pilot program aimed at encouraging lifestyle and behavioral changes, and expanding community partnerships. Based in New York and New Jersey, the Claudio Reyna Foundation’s focus is to inspire underserved youth in urban communities with positive experiences through soccer, education and community involvement in hopes of growing healthy bodies, minds and spirits.

“Programs like this one give kids and their families the opportunity to work with positive role models who care about their health and well-being,” said founder and president, Claudio Reyna. “By teaching the family unit about ways to live an active lifestyle we may be able to reduce the incidents of diabetes affecting so many in our community.”

About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia, Inc. and BlueCross BlueShield Healthcare Plan of Georgia, Inc. (collectively “BCBSGa”), the state’s largest and longest-standing health solutions company, serves nearly 3 million members, offering a variety of healthcare plans, including medical, dental, life and specialty programs. BlueCross and BlueShield of Georgia, Inc. and BlueCross BlueShield Healthcare Plan of Georgia, Inc. are independent licensees of the BlueCross and BlueShield Association®. The BlueCross and BlueShield names and symbols are registered marks of the BlueCross and BlueShield Association. Additional information about BlueCross and BlueShield of Georgia is available at www.bcbsga.com.

About the Claudio Reyna Foundation
Based in New York and New Jersey, The Claudio Reyna Foundation’s focus is to INSPIRE underserved youth in urban communities with positive experiences through soccer, education and community involvement in hopes of growing healthy bodies, minds and spirits. The Foundation uses soccer as a tool to help break the cycle of poverty and to fight against childhood obesity. Our intention is to create a movement within several cities across the United States to embrace healthy/active lifestyles. We want the communities we serve, as well as children and families from all walks of life, to embrace physical activities, to focus on better nutrition, and to commit to education. For more information visit www.claudioreynafoundation.org.

The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association is a national federation of 37 independent, community-based and locally-operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies that collectively provide healthcare coverage for more than 105 million members – one-in-three Americans.  For more information on the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association and its member companies, please visit bcbs.com. We encourage you to connect with us on Facebook, check out our videos on YouTube, follow us on Twitter and check out The BCBS Blog, for up-to-date information about BCBSA.