Skip to content

Press Release

BCBSNC Foundation Provides NC Partnership For Children With Three-Year Grant To Prevent Childhood Obesity In North Carolina

Results From First Three Years Show Significant Improvements in Healthy Eating and Physical Activity Among Children in NC Child Care Centers

January 23, 2014

CHAPEL HILL — Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (BCBSNC) Foundation is investing a second $3 million grant over three years to the North Carolina Partnership for Children (NCPC) to expand Shape NC.

As a result of the first investment, Shape NC, an early childhood initiative focused on increasing the number of young children starting kindergarten at a healthy weight, improved access to healthy fruits and vegetables and increased physical activity for more than 1,000 North Carolina children. Program results include:

Child care centers across North Carolina almost doubled the number of healthy best practices adopted, increasing the percent of best practices met from 40 percent to 74 percent.

Active Play: The percent of children being provided with 90 minutes or more of physical activity daily rose from 51 percent to 85 percent.

Fruit: The percent of children being provided with fruit two or more times per day rose from 34 percent to 80 percent.

Outdoor Learning: All 19 child care centers made improvement to outdoor learning environments including additions such as bike paths and vegetable gardens.

“Shape NC is already helping communities and child care centers develop environments, practices and policies that encourage young children to be healthy,” said Kathy Higgins, President of the BCBSNC Foundation. “This initiative works, so we’re giving the North Carolina Partnership for Children the resources it needs to expand and enhance Shape NC  and improve the health and well-being for more of North Carolina’s youngest children and the communities in which they live.”

Shape NC is already being implemented in 19 child care centers serving more than 27 counties across the state, including:


Local Partnership

Model Early Learning Center

Buncombe Region


Lulu's Child Enrichment Center


Mountain Area Child & Family Center


Old Fort Elementary Preschool


Intermountain Children's Place

Region A

Haywood Community College Regional Center for the Advancement of Children

Down East Region


Excel Christian Academy


Robyn's Nest Creative Learning Center, Inc.

Down East

Betsy B. Currin Child Development Center of Nash Community College


Spanish for Fun


Windsor Jumping Jacks

Rehobeth II

Onslow Region


Excel Learning Center #3

New Hanover

Kids and Company


Miss M's Tot University


Wayne Community College Child Care

Randolph Region


Anson Children's Center


Friendly Avenue Christian Preschool


Small Beginnings Child Development Center


The Early Learning Center


The Growing Place Child Care Center-First Baptist Church

“High obesity rates and rising health care costs are problems that we are facing as a nation and as a state,” said Dr. Nancy H. Brown, Chair of the Board of NCPC. “Shape NC effectively tackles these problems at their roots – our state’s youngest children. From healthy eating to outdoor classrooms, the program has helped provide children, child care center staff and families with positive experiences in nutrition and physical activity to establish a lifetime of healthy behaviors.”

The additional $3 million grant will expand the program’s reach through the Smart Start network to 240 additional child care centers across the state, led by NCPC, to provide more North Carolina children with the start they need to develop strong minds and bodies. 

“I am grateful for the partnership with the BCBSNC Foundation – it has allowed us to break down barriers and help our children overcome the obstacles they face in maintaining a healthy weight,” said Stephanie Fanjul, President of NCPC.  “Because of their support, we will build on these impressive results and provide even more North Carolina children with a healthy start to a productive life.”

Shape NC was recently highlighted as a key part of recommendations for a strategy that addresses rising obesity rates and health care costs by the North Carolina Institute of Medicine (NCIOM) Task Force on Early Childhood Obesity Prevention (ECOP). The recommendations included ways to work across fields and sectors to ensure that similar messages, assessments and policies impact parents and children when and where they can be reached. NCIOM is hosting a summit on Jan. 29, 2014 to discuss the recommendations and to outline an implementation strategy.

To learn more about the work and results of the NCIOM Task Force, visit the NCIOM website. To review the Shape NC Annual Report, visit the NCPC website.

About Blue Cross and Blues 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 3.74 million members, including approximately 1 million served on behalf of other Blue Plans2. For generations, 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 was recognized as one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies by Ethisphere Institute in 2012 and 2013. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Visit BCBSNC online at 

About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation
The Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation (BCBSNC Foundation) is an independent philanthropic affiliate of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina and is dedicated to improving the health and well-being of North Carolinians. The Foundation's focus areas include: Health of Vulnerable Populations - improving health outcomes of populations served by safety net organizations and Healthy Active Communities - increasing physical activity and access to healthy local foods. BCBSNC Foundation invests in programs and services in response to grant requests and proactively creates initiatives or partners with organizations to address specific needs. It also coordinates several Signature Programs, among them, Be Active Kids® and Healthy Community Institute for Nonprofit Excellence. More information is available at Since its founding in 2000, the BCBSNC Foundation has invested nearly $98 million into North Carolina communities through more than 720 grants.

About Smart Start 
Smart Start, a network of nonprofit local partnerships led by The North Carolina Partnership for Children, Inc. (NCPC), creates innovative solutions to measurably increase learning and the healthy development of children birth to five. Smart Start gives local communities the freedom and responsibility to determine how to increase the health, well-being and development of their children based on the needs and resources of their local communities. NCPC establishes measurable statewide goals and communities determine the best approach to achieving them. For more information, visit


The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association is a national federation of 36 independent, community-based and locally-operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies that collectively provide healthcare coverage for more than 106 million members members – one-in-three Americans.  For more information on the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association and its member companies, please visit 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.