Subtitle Healthy Activity Kits and Curriculum at 135 third-grade classrooms BUFFALO – As the official health plan of Buffalo Public Schools, and in an effort to instill healthy habits in children, BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York announced a unique program to teach third-graders about healthy eating, fitness, and living. The Healthy Zone program includes the funding and development of curriculum and “Healthy Zone Activity Kits” that were hand-delivered to more than 135 third-grade classrooms within the district –reaching more than 2000 students. The kits contain 25 fun and interactive resources including nutrition charts, fitness dice, jump ropes, pedometers, exercise bands, super-sized teeth for brushing, and prompt cards with ideas on healthy living. The concept of the activity kits, and the program at large, is to provide teachers with the resources they need to instill healthy habits in their students in an interactive manner. “It’s our role as a community-based health plan to ensure young students are given the foundational building blocks they need to lead a healthy lifestyle,” said Dave Anderson, president and CEO, BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York. “This program teaches healthy habits in a fun and engaging way, and the Healthy Zone Game Show engages family members and the community.” Recent statistics released by the United Way of Buffalo & Erie County and reported by the Buffalo News, show that childhood obesity continues to grow in Western New York (32 percent of children ages 11 and under in Erie County were obese or overweight in 2012 - up from 28 percent in 2008 and is 12 points higher than the 20 percent national average). BlueCross BlueShield wants to help reverse this trend and also complement a recent New York State educational requirement calling for enhanced curriculum and more resources around physical education. “Practicing a healthy lifestyle helps children to succeed in school,” said Buffalo Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Kriner Cash. “Healthy bodies support healthy brains and better learning. I encourage our students to take the lessons they learn home and incorporate healthy lifestyles into their family routines.” Another major component to the Healthy Zone program, is the launch of the “Healthy Zone Game Show,” a 30-minute trivia game show in which five students from third grade classrooms square-up to test their health and wellness knowledge. The competing students are selected by their teachers to represent their school on-stage, and all students are part of the “studio audience.” The Healthy Zone Game Show was filmed at Kleinhans Music Hall and will air weekly on local channel WBBZ-TV. The show premiers Monday, Nov. 30 at 6:30 p.m., and will continue to air every Monday at 6:30 p.m. with encore presentations on Fridays at 6:30 p.m. and Saturdays at 11:30 a.m. Episodes will air on WBBZ-TV through Saturday, April 2, 2016. In May of 2016, a special Grand Finale Celebration will be held to celebrate the Healthy Zone Program with participating classrooms and invite finalists to compete in the Grand Finale. The date, time, and location of the celebration will be announced at a later date. About BlueCross BlueShield of WNY BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York is a division of HealthNow New York Inc., one of New York’s leading health care companies that provides access to quality health care and solutions for members throughout Upstate New York. Since 1936, BlueCross BlueShield has helped millions of people gain access to health care. Headquartered in Buffalo, NY, the company is an independent Licensee of the BlueCross BlueShield Association. As the region’s leading health plan, serving over 800,000 members, BlueCross BlueShield believes in taking small steps towards healthier living because - Healthy Changes Everything®. You can visit our website at www.bcbswny.com.