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Free In-Class Health Program Complete with Curriculum Available to Teachers Statewide

PHOENIX, Nov. 1, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Fifth-grade teachers statewide are invited to register for the 2014 Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona Walk On! Challenge. This annual program provides fifth-grade teachers with a fun and interactive way to teach the importance of good nutrition, physical activity and overall healthy lifestyle choices.

The Walk On! Challenge is a free health and fitness program implemented in classrooms every February. Teachers receive tool kits from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona with information and in-class materials to teach the program in class. And new this year the tool kit includes curriculum developed by Mollen Foundation experts to make it seamless for teachers to incorporate the messages into their regular school schedule. 

Plus participating schools can apply to win one of five $5,000 grants to continue teaching the importance of physical education and nutrition all year long. 

"Our mission at Wilson Elementary is to systematically transform the school culture by increasing student activity levels, teaching healthy eating habits and providing students with the tools necessary to live long healthy lives," said Daniel Velazquez, 2013 grant winner at Wilson Elementary School and now PE teacher for Lowell Elementary School in Mesa. "The Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona Walk On! Challenge has been an amazing healthy program for the fifth-grade students at our school."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports obesity now affects nearly 18 percent of all children and adolescents in the United States, and since 1980, the number has almost tripled. And while among low-income preschoolers aged 2–4 years, many states are now showing small declines in childhood obesity rates, the CDC notes that a lot of work is still to be done before the rates begin to show a dramatic decline

"Children spend one-third of their day at school and are faced with many opportunities to make healthy choices," noted Dr. Vishu Jhaveri, chief medical officer BCBSAZ. "The Walk On! Challenge has always aimed to support schools' and teachers' efforts. And the feedback we get from teachers confirms that we're providing a great resource in the battle against childhood obesity."

The Walk On! Challenge is open to all fifth-grade classes in Arizona. Registration is required to ensure students who reach the 5-2-1-0 goal at least 15 days in the month will receive their reward and be entered into a drawing for prizes. This year's prizes include drawstring backpacks, iPod® Nanos and gift certificates for sporting equipment.

Fifth-grade teachers and school administration members in Arizona who are interested in registering for the Walk On! Challenge or who want to know more about the grant criteria can visit for additional details. The deadline to register for the program is Dec. 13, 2013.

About Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona (BCBSAZ), an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, is the largest Arizona-based health insurance company. The not-for-profit company was founded in 1939 and provides health insurance products, services or networks to 1.3 million individuals. With offices in Phoenix, Flagstaff, Tucson and the East Valley, the company employs more than 1,300 Arizonans. Follow BCBSAZ at or on Twitter at @bcbsaz to get information on health and wellness, a knowledgeable perspective on health insurance reform, and become a part of what we're doing in your community.

SOURCE Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona
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