Recognizing that school is where children spend most of their daily lives – making it an ideal place to encourage healthy habits – the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas Foundation is sending $148,757.65 in Healthy Habits for Life grants to schools in 65 Kansas counties. The 154 separate grants will help school nurses, teachers and administrators fund programs or activities in 2018 aimed at helping thousands of children reduce their cardiovascular risk, increase their physical activity or learn healthy eating habits.
"Healthy Habits for Life was the first major grant program developed by the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas Foundation and, 12 years later, it still fills an existing need in helping curb childhood obesity rates in Kansas," said Marlou Wegener, chief operating officer of the BCBSKS Foundation. "The Foundation's board of directors remains committed to funding at-school health programs that a teacher or staff member might not otherwise be able to deliver due to tight budgets.
"It is our nurses, teachers and administrators who are on the front line of our collective efforts to slow the childhood obesity epidemic in Kansas," she said. "It is through their dedication that we have hope that this generation of Kansas children will learn more than reading, writing and arithmetic at school; we have hope that they also will learn the life-long healthy habits that will lead them to healthy adulthood and brighter futures."
The BCBSKS Foundation has now distributed 1,391 Healthy Habits for Life grants totaling $1,316,341.56 during 12 giving cycles. The most recent grants will be used during 2018 for a variety of programs ranging from purchasing heart monitors, healthy snacks or nutrition curriculum, to organizing health fairs and walking programs.
The amount of each grant was based on the applicant’s request for the program he or she proposed, up to a maximum of $1,000. The school district or private school must be located in the service area of the BCBSKS Foundation (all Kansas counties except Johnson and Wyandotte).
About the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas Foundation
The Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas Foundation promotes the good health of Kansans who live in the Foundation’s 103-county service area. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas, the largest health insurer in the state, incorporated the Foundation in 2005 as a way to further deepen its commitment to helping all Kansans lead healthier lives, an effort which both entities believe is an essential factor in keeping health care affordable. Through its giving, the Foundation focuses on key health issues that can impact the lives of many Kansans. It funds programs and activities that are, at their core, health-related and in particular, promote health improvement, health care access, health education, healthy behaviors and prevention initiatives. The Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas Foundation and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas are independent licensees of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association. Both entities serve all Kansas counties except Johnson and Wyandotte. For more information on the Foundation, visit bcbsks.com/foundation.