Blues on the Radio: Focusing on Men’s Health Month in June

The June installment of The Healthier Michigan Radio Show focuses on BCBSM’s commitment to men’s health and the initiatives surrounding Men’s Health Month. WJR-AM program host Ann Thomas speaks with:

  • Ken Dallafior, Senior Vice President of Group Business and Corporate Marketing at Blue Cross, talks about how he and Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford have been hard at work on the Men of Michigan Health Challenge.
  • Dr. Ray Littleton, of Henry Ford Hospital, speaks about his involvement with the “Man Up! For Better Health” initiative. 
  • Marshall Booker, deacon of Messiah Baptist Church, and Cle Jackson, Blue Cross’s senior community liaison in West Michigan, discuss the annual “Real Men Can Cook” competition and how it’s proving that real men can cook healthy.

The hour-long show is available online or as a podcast, or listen to it on the air on the following stations:

  • WTCM-FM in Traverse City — 9-10 p.m. June 11
  • WATZ-AM in Alpena — 11 a.m.-noon June 20

Tigers Radio

Andrew Hetzel, BCBSM’s vice president of Corporate Communications, joins play-by-play caller Dan Dickerson each Sunday throughout the month on the Detroit Tigers Radio Network. This month Hetzel discusses childhood obesity, Healthy Blue Xtras and more. You can listen to Hetzel’s 3-minute segment with Dickerson on what the Blues are doing to combat childhood obesity here.

WTCM Radio

Jeff Connolly, president for West Michigan Operations and Managed Care for BCBSM, appears each Monday around 6:30 a.m. on WTCM. On June 18, he discusses Blue Care Network’s recent expansion in the Upper Peninsula, while summer savings members can realize through the Healthy Blue Xtras program are the focus June 25.

WOOD Radio

Connolly continues his regular appearances with WOOD-AM host Steve Kelly each Tuesday throughout June. Connolly and Kelly will discuss Men’s Health Week on June 12 and the Blues’ cardiovascular consortium partnership with Michigan hospitals June 19.

Elementary Schools Can Still Apply for Childhood Obesity Prevention Grants

Building Healthy Communities grant applications are still being accepted for the 2012-2013 school year. Selected elementary schools will receive a healthy school transformation package of program materials, curriculum, equipment, professional development, mentoring and technical support valued at $30,000.

Applications are due by 5 p.m. March 30.

We are excited about the upcoming Building Healthy Communities program year and some of the new elements offered to participating schools. Last fall, Blue Cross announced its expanded commitment to combating childhood obesity by partnering with the Center for School Health in the College of Education at Wayne State University and the Michigan Fitness Foundation on its Building Healthy Communities school-based childhood obesity initiative.

Although BCBSM has supported childhood obesity prevention efforts since 2004 with more than $4.3 million in grant funding, we know we need to continue our efforts and build a greater coalition. Obviously there is much work to be done, as 30.6 percent of youth ages 10 to 17 in Michigan are overweight.

We believe the collaborative expertise of our partners will make a difference in the health of Michigan families and we look forward to working with schools in this effort.

To apply for the grant applications, click here.

Expanded Partnership, Funding Opportunities Help Michigan Schools Tackle Childhood Obesity

Second graders at Stambaugh Elementary in Iron River learn about nutrition and made vegetable soup after the school won a Building Healthy Communities grant for the 2011-2012 school year.

When what was once considered a health issue of mild concern explodes into a full-blown epidemic, it’s time to not just act fast, but to act big.

That was the thinking that moved Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan when we turned our attention in 2009 to taking on the issue of childhood obesity. Our first move was to begin the Building Healthy Communities grant program to provide schools across the state with the funds they needed to get kids moving, eating healthier and adopting healthy lifestyles.

Since then, we’ve impacted the lives of some 24,000 kids across Michigan with these grants.

Now we’re taking the program even bigger by forming a partnership with the Wayne State University Center for School Health in the College of Education and the Michigan Fitness Foundation to enhance physical activity and nutrition education in schools and provide culturally relevant information and resources. The expanded Building Healthy Communities partnership will also help school staff and youth leadership promote school transformation and provide family education where it’s most needed. The program also benefits from the expertise and unique resources of each partnering organization.

Last week, we again began accepting applications from schools interested in getting on board with Building Healthy Communities. Those schools receiving the grant awards will find themselves with an additional $30,000 to support their efforts to make a real difference in the lives of Michigan’s kids. Applications are due by March 30, 2012, and can be found here along with grant award program details.

By going bigger, the Blues are taking the program exactly where it needs to go, said Lynda Rossi, BCBSM’s senior vice president of Public Affairs and chief of staff.

“This allows us to take that program and make it bigger and broader, to touch more kids and leverage the strengths of our partners, Wayne State’s Center for School Health as well as the Michigan Fitness Foundation and all the wonderful work they do,” Rossi said.

Following the advice we’re giving the kids, the goal now becomes to stay active. Only by bringing in more partners and extending the program’s reach into more underserved communities, can we come close to making the impact we’re hoping for.

How Our New Building Healthy Communities Partnership Aligns With Governor Snyder’s Call for Collaboration

Gov. Rick Snyder recently said that “health is the foundation for Michigan’s economic transformation,” and in alignment with his broader plea to improve residents’ health and combat obesity, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan has announced a partnership with Wayne State University and the Michigan Fitness Foundation to expand its Building Healthy Communities school grant program.

The three organizations collectively will bring a additional expertise and resources to the Building Healthy Communities program, which provides grants for things like physical activity and school nutrition programs.

We’ve all heard plenty about the obesity crisis in our country. It affects everyone in some way. You may be personally struggling with a high BMI or bearing the financial burden of higher health care costs for an unhealthy employee population.

Regardless, obesity is taking its toll on all of us. The health of Michigan residents and their communities directly impacts the state’s ability to compete on a national and international scale.

In his speech outlining the state’s health care plans, Snyder encouraged schools to “facilitate participation in physical activity and health education throughout all grade levels.” He also asked schools to improve their nutrition standards, encouraged organizations to work together to move the needle on obesity and challenged all Michiganders to adopt adopt healthier lifestyles.

Blue Cross has provided funding to 63 schools across the state since 2009 under the program, reaching more than 24,000 Michigan students. The expanded Building Healthy Communities program will continue to address childhood obesity with physical activity and healthy eating with the added resources and opportunities from Wayne State’s Center for School Health and the Michigan Fitness Foundation.

Check out a video on our new partnership below. Do your schools educate students on health and nutrition? If so, how do they communicate the importance of a healthy lifestyle and model healthy behaviors?

Blues Help Combat Childhood Obesity One School at a Time

Blue Cross Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan is dedicated to fighting childhood obesity by granting funds to Michigan schools that apply and meet the criteria of the Building Healthy Communities program.

In Michigan, 30.6 percent of kids age 10 to 17 are overweight, according to a report by Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

These children have a higher likelihood of suffering adult health problems such as diabetes and high blood pressure, heart disease and overall self-confidence and mood issues. Our children have many other worries and stresses, so why add this one to the list when there is something that can be done?

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Grand Rapids Students Get a Surprise Visit From Detroit Lions QB

A morning that typically would be filled with reading, writing and arithmetic was instead a star-studded, action-packed start of the day for 200 Grand Rapids students on Monday.

Matthew Stafford, starting quarterback for the Detroit Lions, surprised students from four elementary schools involved in Project FIT, a partnership between Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Michigan State University that aims to improve children’s health. Stafford joined the students in various exercises and talked to them about the importance of eating healthy and staying active.

“I’ve been healthy and I’ve been active my entire life,” Stafford told the students. “It’s a part of my job now.”

Detroit Lions Quarterback Matthew Stafford teaches Grand Rapids kids the importance of staying healthy and active as part of Project FIT, a partnership between Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Michigan State University.

Project FIT is also looking to help families in the Buchanan, Campus, Cesar E. Chavez and Dickinson elementary school districts increase their access to nutritional foods through a new FIT Store program that enables the neighborhood stores to offer healthy food selections.

“We’ve got a real problem here. Fifteen to 20 percent of kids are obese today,” Jeff Connolly, president of BCBSM West Michigan operations, told The Grand Rapids Press. “You’ll continue to see Matthew and Blue Cross Blue Shield aligned on the fight against childhood obesity. It’s not a one-and-done deal.”

In 2009, Matthew Stafford and BCBSM announced their partnership to combat childhood obesity in Michigan through the promotion of preventive measures that foster healthy lifestyles.