A morning that typically would be filled with reading, writing and arithmetic was instead a star-studded, action-packed start of the day for 200 Grand Rapids students on Monday.
Matthew Stafford, starting quarterback for the Detroit Lions, surprised students from four elementary schools involved in Project FIT, a partnership between Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Michigan State University that aims to improve children’s health. Stafford joined the students in various exercises and talked to them about the importance of eating healthy and staying active.
“I’ve been healthy and I’ve been active my entire life,” Stafford told the students. “It’s a part of my job now.”
Project FIT is also looking to help families in the Buchanan, Campus, Cesar E. Chavez and Dickinson elementary school districts increase their access to nutritional foods through a new FIT Store program that enables the neighborhood stores to offer healthy food selections.
“We’ve got a real problem here. Fifteen to 20 percent of kids are obese today,” Jeff Connolly, president of BCBSM West Michigan operations, told The Grand Rapids Press. “You’ll continue to see Matthew and Blue Cross Blue Shield aligned on the fight against childhood obesity. It’s not a one-and-done deal.”
In 2009, Matthew Stafford and BCBSM announced their partnership to combat childhood obesity in Michigan through the promotion of preventive measures that foster healthy lifestyles.