Local schools help decrease childhood obesity with help from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of AL


Be Healthy School Grant Program helps fight childhood obesity
The Be Healthy School Grant Program is awarding money to local schools in an effort to increase health and wellness programs and prevent childhood obesity. Photo via Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama

Health and wellness in daily activities have always played an important role in preventing childhood obesity, but how are these factors implemented in schools where children spend most of their time? Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama (BCBSAL) is providing a solution.

A look at our state’s childhood obesity rates

According to statistics from the Alabama Department of Public Health updated in January 2020, Alabama has the 16th highest obesity rate for youth ages 10 to 17.

However, through the Be Healthy School Grant Program from BCBSAL, Alabama schools are gaining more resources to help lower these numbers.

The grant program recently awarded $266,500 to 27 schools across the state in an effort to integrate more school-based health and wellness programs.

Providing outlets for physical activity

The use of the grant money falls directly in line with a vital way to promote a healthy lifestyle among children. The CDC states a community environment, such as schools, that offer healthy food choices and outlets for physical activity is necessary for decreasing the childhood obesity rate.

How does the grant help decrease childhood obesity in Alabama?

Parrish Elementary School
Parrish Elementary School is one of the 27 schools to receive a grant from the program. Photo via Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama

The grant money was used to help 27 schools (over 10,000 students total) for grades K through 6. Each of the schools received a grant of up to $10,000.

Through the grant money, schools are able to implement programs emphasizing:

  • Increased exercise
  • Nutrition education
  • Parental involvement

For example, in 2019, Cahaba Elementary’s physical education teacher Jamie Giangrosso used the grant funding for iPads. The technology allowed students to video their athletic performance and find areas of strength and weakness. The iPads also provided a way for students to learn how the brain and heart work while using apps.

This year, Dr. Kyzer, the principal of Parrish Elementary, says his school’s plan is to install a track for student and community member use. The Be Healthy School Grant Program from BCBSAL will allow him to reach this goal.

“We are extremely thankful for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama and their programs that continue to value education. Our goal is to provide a walking track that not only benefits our students, but members of the community can come use it as well. We are very appreciative.”

-Dr. Thomas Kyzer, Ed.D, principal, Parrish Elementary

See a full list of schools who received a grant for the 2020-21 school year

Congratulations to the following schools on leading the initiative to fight childhood obesity! Through community efforts like these, our state is becoming healthier.

Capital Heights MiddleMontgomeryMontgomery
Creek View ElementaryMayleneShelby
East Franklin Junior HighPhil CampbellFranklin
Elvin Hill ElementaryColumbianaShelby
Fleeta Junior HighOppCovington
Glencoe MiddleGlencoeEtowah
Green Valley ElementaryHooverJefferson
Headland ElementaryHeadlandHenry
Henagar Junior HighHenagarEtowah
Highland Home SchoolHighland HomeCrenshaw
Horizon ElementaryMadisonMadison
Jefferson Co. International BaccalaureatePleasant GroveJefferson
Ladonia ElementaryPhenix CityRussell
Locust Fork ElementaryLocust ForkBlount
Mathis ElementaryFoleyBaldwin
Mount Olive IntermediateFort MitchellRussell
Oscar W Adams ElementaryGadsdenEtowah
Parrish ElementaryParrishWalker
Resurrection Catholic SchoolMontgomeryMontgomery
Sacred Heart SchoolCullmanCullman
Sipsey Valley MiddleBuhlTuscaloosa
Stevenson ElementaryStevensonJackson
St. Pauls Episcopal SchoolMobileMobile
Sycamore ElementaryAlpineTalladega
West Blocton ElementaryWest BloctonBibb
Wilson Hall MiddleGrove HillClarke
York West End Junior HighYorkSumter

Looking for more information? Reach out to Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama via their website. Or, follow them on FacebookInstagram and Twitter.

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