As Michigan continues to confront the health challenge of having one in three of its young people considered statistically overweight, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan is launching a series of high-profile events and partnership activations to get people engaged in sharing ideas about how to improve the health of Michigan’s kids.
The new campaign – called #MIKidsCan – is focused on encouraging kids to adopt healthy habits early in life that are more likely to be carried into adulthood. This is another demonstration of BCBSM’s commitment to Michigan’s youth, complementing BCBSM’s support of the Building Healthy Communities program. Since 2005, BCBSM has invested more than $6 million in childhood obesity prevention initiatives, like Building Healthy Communities, to provide school-based programs to improve the health habits of Michigan kids.
The Building Healthy Communities program is a comprehensive, public-private initiative that encourages children to adopt healthy habits through healthy eating and physical activity. Partners involved with BCBSM in the Building Healthy Communities program include:
- Michigan Department of Community Health
- Michigan Fitness Foundation
- Wayne State University
- The University of Michigan
- United Dairy Industry of Michigan
“The #MIKidsCan campaign integrates major events and partnerships with the power of social media to get Michigan talking about kids’ health,” said Andrew Hetzel, vice president for corporate communications at BCBSM. “We have significant dollars invested in programs, and powerful partners at the table. But we can’t succeed without people getting involved – in small but meaningful ways – to spotlight and celebrate how our kids can adopt the building blocks to a healthy life. That’s what MIKidsCan is all about.”
Supporting the #MIKidsCan campaign and joining in the cause of improving children’s health are Blue Cross’ marketing partners, including:
- The Detroit Lions
- Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford
- The University of Michigan Athletics Department
- Michigan State University’s Athletics Department
- The Detroit Red Wings
- The Detroit Pistons
- The Detroit Tigers
“Sports and physical play are important parts of growing up healthy,” Hetzel said. “The power of our sports partners to create big events to champion healthy kids is an exciting part of #MIKidsCan. We will be rolling out a series of big events – starting this fall – to bring more public attention to the cause and make the campaign fun for people to participate in.
About Childhood Obesity and Blue Cross’ Role
The reason for the initiative is simple: Childhood obesity is an epidemic, impacting millions of U.S. children annually, including a third of Michigan children. Michigan has the 18th highest childhood obesity rate in the country. Obesity-related chronic health conditions account for nearly $200 billion in annual health expenditures in the United States.
Research from the American Psychological Association and the Obesity Society confirms once healthy habits are established early in life, they are difficult to change. This makes it critical for kids to start building healthy habits while they are young – like choosing nutritious foods and getting at least 60 minutes of daily physical activity.
The Centers for Disease Control finds childhood obesity is at the core of many physical complications experienced by adults, such as Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, sleep apnea, asthma and bone and joint problems. Obese children are more likely to suffer from depression, stress, anxiety and poor self-esteem.
As part of its nonprofit mission, Blue Cross continues to work to help Michigan families make good choices leading to healthier lives. With a focus on improving children’s health, BCBSM has given more than $6 million in support of kids’ health and wellness initiatives across the state, reaching more than 100,000 children.
For more information on #MIKidsCan and BCBSM’s ongoing efforts to help improve children’s health, visit AHealthierMichigan.org or follow #MIKidsCan on Twitter.
Photo Credit: A Healthier Michigan