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Schools Receive Grants to Help Kids be Active, Eat Healthy
Date:2/13/2009

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan supports physical activity and nutrition programs for students and their parents

DETROIT, Feb. 13 /PRNewswire/ -- More than 16,600 Michigan children and their local communities will get an opportunity to participate in walking, climbing and other physical activities and to learn to eat healthily, through a partnership with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.

They'll join youngsters like those at Detroit's Maybury Elementary School who now have more options to stay fit.

"The rock climbing wall installed last year gives students in all grade levels the opportunity to succeed at challenges, develop balance, upper body strength and problem solving as they travel along the wall," said Linda Almeranti, a physical education teacher at Maybury Elementary, a recipient of a BCBSM grant.

Thirty-six schools throughout Michigan will share in a $333,400 grant with awards ranging from $1,000 to $15,000. Physical activity and nutrition programs vary from installing new playground equipment to hands-on organic gardening programs. Grant applications were offered to schools statewide based on certain criteria such as student participation rates in free and reduced lunch programs along with a population historically at risk for obesity.

"Even though our students have 20 minutes of recess time each day and are encouraged to engage in physical activity, they seldom do because our playground equipment is outdated and there's simply not enough equipment for all students to use. With the funds secured from this Blue Cross grant, and a matching funds grant from GameTime Playground, we're going to purchase new equipment and structures that will increase students' physical activity," said Scott Hutchins, principal, Bennett Elementary School in Jackson.

Since 2004, the Blues have provided nearly $1 million in funding to address childhood obesity amo
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SOURCE Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan
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