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Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Teams with the State of Indiana to Combat Obesity
Date:2/28/2008

Continuing Medical Education, Body Mass Index training events for physicians and clinical staff will provide needed tools to help combat

obesity in children and adults

INDIANAPOLIS, Feb. 28 /PRNewswire/ -- With obesity at the forefront of today's health concerns, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in collaboration with the Indiana Department of Health today announced that they will be hosting trainings for both physicians and clinicians to identify, prevent and manage obesity in both adults and children. The training is being hosted by Anthem's Community Resource Centers, which serve Hoosier Healthwise members and concludes a series of trainings held earlier this week in Gary and Evansville.

Today's event begins with an early morning continuing medical education (CME) session offered for physicians that will address prevention, detection, assessment and management of obesity. The afternoon session, designed for clinical staff members in primary care practices, will focus on the use of body mass index (BMI) to standardize screening for overweight and obese individuals. The session will include valuable hands-on training along with tools and resources, including a BMI calculator wheel, BMI-for-age growth charts, job aids, family brochures and parent educational materials.

As the nation struggles with the obesity epidemic, Indiana is faced with its own startling statistics. According to Indiana Department of Health over 3.7 million Indiana adults are overweight or obese and approximately 30 percent of young people ages 6 to 19 in the state are already obese or overweight.

"We know that physicians play an important role in the fight against obesity," said Dr. Harvinder Sareen, director of clinical programs for Anthem. "Our goal is to provide training for physicians and clinical staff and equip their practices with tools to facilitate standard screening for members with this condition or those at risk. Early detection will allow physicians to provide preventive guidance and management services to children and families who need it most."

Although only six states in the nation mandate BMI screening, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends the use of BMI screening as an important first step in identifying individuals who are overweight or obese.

Today's training will provide physicians and their clinical staff with practice-based, feasible, and updated information and resources to manage obesity and help prevent the onset of related co-morbid conditions. "This also illustrates Anthem's investment in a public-private collaboration that has far more significant impact on addressing the public health problem of childhood obesity," said, Rob Hillman, president and general manager of Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Indiana.

"This collaboration of public health and medicine is exactly what is needed to address the epidemic of obesity in Indiana," said State Health Commissioner Judy Monroe, M.D. "I applaud Anthem for taking this innovative step to bring training to Indiana physicians and provide them with tools that will help improve the health of young people and reduce the economic burden of obesity in our state."

About Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Indiana

Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Indiana is a subsidiary of WellPoint, Inc. (NYSE: WLP), whose mission is to improve the lives of the people it serves and the health of its communities. It is the largest health benefits company in terms of commercial membership in the United States, and an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, serving members as the Blue Cross licensee for California; the Blue Cross and Blue Shield licensee for Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Missouri (excluding 30 counties in the Kansas City area), Nevada, New Hampshire, New York (as Blue Cross Blue Shield in 10 New York City metropolitan and surrounding counties and as Blue Cross or Blue Cross Blue Shield in selected upstate counties only), Ohio, Virginia (excluding the Northern Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C.), Wisconsin; and through UniCare. Through its nationwide networks, the company delivers a number of leading health benefit solutions through a broad portfolio of integrated health care plans and related services, along with a wide range of specialty products such as life and disability insurance benefits, pharmacy benefit management, dental, vision, behavioral health benefit services, as well as long term care insurance and flexible spending accounts. More information about Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield is available at http://www.anthem.com.


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SOURCE Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Indiana
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