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Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation Grant to Eastern Michigan University Will Help Ypsilanti Elementary Schoolchildren Lead Healthier Lives
Date:10/30/2008

DETROIT, Oct. 30 /PRNewswire/ -- A grant from the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation will bring together a Michigan university and several local elementary schools to help youngsters learn healthy lifestyle habits they can take into adulthood.

Eastern Michigan University will use a BCBSM Foundation grant to work with four Ypsilanti elementary schools, Brick, Childs, Model and Redner -- part of Lincoln Consolidated Schools -- to bring a wellness program to 1,770 elementary schoolchildren as well as their teachers and other school employees.

"Reaching children at this early stage, before serious problems develop, can help them avoid obesity and associated chronic diseases later in life," said Ira Strumwasser, executive director and CEO of the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation. "As a foundation concerned about the health status of Michigan residents, we are clearly interested in a community collaboration that can help the state build an active, healthy workforce of the future."

EMU's wellness program has two parts: Win to Lose and Shape Up. Shape Up is for kindergarten through fifth-graders while Win to Lose is for teachers and other school employees. The program is supported by a two-year, $167,000 foundation grant.

The Win to Lose segment for school employees is instrumental in helping pupils succeed in the Shape Up program, said Christine Karshin, associate professor of health education in EMU's School of Health Promotion and Human Performance.

"The modeling of healthy behaviors by teachers and other school employees is an important key to this program. Childhood obesity prevention programs often fail because they don't get support from the school environment," Karshin said. "School employees will see personal benefits from this program and in turn will be equipped to engage children in the classroom."

School employees began their Win to Lose portion of the program in early September by particip
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SOURCE Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation
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