Beyond the Card: Inside a Building Healthy Communities School [Podcast]

Sven Gustafson

| 2 min read

The MI Blues Perspectives Podcast team traveled recently to Tenniswood Elementary in Clinton Township to learn about Building Healthy Communities, a partnership program founded by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan in 2009 that engages schools in the fight against childhood obesity. It’s a big problem all across the country. One in three children in the United States are now considered overweight or obese, putting them at higher risk for developing complications such as high blood pressure, heart disease and Type 2 diabetes. “These were conditions that were previously only seen in adults. So this has really been a big change for our country and around the world, having children having these types of health problems,” said Shannon Carney Oleksyk, a registered dietitian and manager of Building Healthy Communities for Blue Cross. Joining Oleksyk on the show are Tenniswood Principal Kim Vigneron and Kristen Kaszeta, Building Healthy Communities program manager for the Center for School Health at Wayne State University, one of the program’s partners. Highlights include:
  • What schools are eligible, what the application process is like, how schools are selected to participate in the program and what services they receive.
  • What the healthy school coordinators do onsite at each participating BHC school.
  • What Wayne State University’s Center for School Health, a program partner, has learned from its evaluation of Building Healthy Communities schools — including the affect on fruit and vegetable consumption, physical activity, and reading and math scores.
  • How the program has changed things from a day-to-day basis at Tenniswood. This post is part of a storytelling series we call, “Beyond the Card.” These stories will feature Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan members, employees, and communities who are making meaningful differences throughout our state. We invite you to follow Beyond the Card stories here at and through the hashtag, #BeyondtheCard on our social channels. If you have a story you would like to share, please feel free to contact us at Photo credit: MIBluesPerspectives
MI Blues Perspectives is sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, a nonprofit, independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association