158 Michigan K-12 schools receive wellness program to improve health and prevent childhood obesity

by Blues Perspectives

| 5 min read

DETROIT, Nov. 28, 2018—158 Michigan schools statewide were chosen to join the Building Healthy Communities program, a public-private initiative to improve health and wellness through better nutrition and physical activity for their students. Building Healthy Communities, originally created by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan in 2009, is an evidence-based, comprehensive, school-wide initiative that supports children’s health by providing students, teachers and administrators with the training, curriculum, equipment, funds, communication tools and support to improve student health, while creating a healthier school environment. Students participating in Building Healthy Communities programming reported eating 40 percent more fruits and vegetables than the national average for six to 11-year-olds, 19 minutes less screen and video time per day and 35 additional minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity per week. Earlier this year, Michigan schools were invited to apply for one of three programs under the successful Building Healthy Communities program for the 2018-2019 school year. Each is designed to provide a sustainable program empowering students with the knowledge, skills and attitude to make healthy choices and environmental improvements to make the healthy choice the easy choice. The programs include: Building Healthy Communities: Elementary School Program (grades K-5), Building Healthy Communities: Engaging Middle Schools Through Project Healthy Schools (grades six through eight) and Building Healthy Communities: Step Up for School Wellness (grades K-12). Building Healthy Communities is supported by multiple statewide organizations, including Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, Michigan Department of Education, Michigan Fitness Foundation, Michigan State University Extension, Michigan Team Nutrition, United Dairy Industry of Michigan, the University of Michigan, Wayne State University Center for Health and Community Impact and Action for Healthy Kids. The Michigan Health Endowment Fund also provides support for a number of schools with the Building Healthy Communities: Engaging Middle Schools through Project Healthy Schools program. “Every year, we are impressed by the increasing number of schools dedicated to the health and wellness of their students,” said Nick Lyon, Director of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. “We are excited about being part of a movement to build healthy eating and active living habits for life!” Lynda Rossi, executive vice president of Strategy, Government and Public Affairs at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan said, “Like our dedicated partners, Blue Cross is thrilled to see the significant impact the Building Healthy Communities program has had on empowering students and educators across the state to live healthier. From vegetable tastings to active recess and improved school meals, the program is designed to engage children in a culture of wellness that goes beyond the classroom to instill healthier habits at home and later in life.” “Wayne State University’s Center for Health and Community Impact is proud to be working with so many Michigan schools in their healthy school transformations," said Nate McCaughtry, Ph.D., center director and assistant dean of the Division of Kinesiology, Health and Sports Studies. "Our research on Building Healthy Communities indicates students at participating schools have increased physical activity, improved eating habits, shown a decreased risk for obesity and other chronic conditions, and improved academic achievement in reading and math. The long-term benefits of which are promising." Kim Eagle, M.D, Albion Walter Hewlett professor of Internal Medicine, professor of Health Management and Policy in the University of Michigan School of Public Health, and director, Frankel Cardiovascular Center at Michigan Medicine said, “The obesity epidemic is a public health emergency. We feel the right environment to tackle this problem is in the schools. We should be teaching the value of health to our children. First, it’s a captive place where we have the chance to reach all of them. Second, it’s the right environment to teach children about the science of health. We’d like to reinforce lifestyle behaviors for these children to adopt and carry throughout their lives and share with others.” “Research shows that students who eat healthier meals are better ready to learn. That’s why the United Dairy Industry of Michigan, on behalf of Michigan’s dairy farm families, is proud to support the Building Healthy Communities program. This program aligns with the dairy community’s goals to empower youth to lead healthy sustainable change in their schools and communities. We are creating a healthier future for our students and setting them up for success,” said Sharon Toth, RD and chief executive officer of United Dairy Industry of Michigan. Building Healthy Communities has been embraced by more than 750 schools across the state, helping over 340,000 students develop better habits and live healthier lives. It supports Blue Cross’ ongoing commitment to children’s health and its #MIKidsCan campaign – an initiative focused on encouraging kids to adopt healthy habits early in life that are more likely to be carried into adulthood. Over the last 12 years, Blue Cross has given more than $8 million in support of kids’ health and wellness initiatives across the state. For more information on Blue Cross’ ongoing efforts to help improve childhood health, visit or follow #MIKidsCan on Twitter. The schools receiving Building Healthy Communities programming for the 2018-2019 school year include:
Building Healthy Communities: Elementary School Program City
Avoca ElementaryAvoca
Bethune Elementary/Middle SchoolDetroit
Bow Elementary/MiddleDetroit
Century Park Learning CenterGrandville
Commonwealth Community Development AcademyDetroit
East ElementaryGrandville
Glazer AcademyDetroit
Grayling Elementary SchoolGrayling
Immaculate Conception Catholic SchoolThree Rivers
James Gardner ElementaryDetroit
John F. Farrell-Emmett Elementary SchoolEmmett
John R. King AcademyDetroit
Lindemann ElementaryAllen Park
Marvin L. Winans Academy of Performing ArtsDetroit
Meadow Montessori SchoolMonroe
Mecosta Elementary SchoolMecosta
Mill Creek ElementaryWilliamsburg
Momentum AcademyHazel Park
Nolan Elementary/Middle SchoolDetroit
Nowlin ElementaryDearborn
Owen Intermediate SchoolBelleville
Palmer Park Preparatory AcademyDetroit
Pathfinder Elementary SchoolFremont
Patton Elementary SchoolRoseville
Plymouth Educational CenterDetroit
Shrine Catholic Grade SchoolRoyal Oak
St Mary's Assumption SchoolBronson
St Paul SchoolOwosso
St Stanislaus SchoolDorr
Trix AcademyDetroit
Unionville Sebewaing Area Elementary SchoolUnionville
Wells Township SchoolArnold
Whitmore Lake Elementary SchoolWhitmore Lake
Willow SchoolLansing
Wise AcademyDearborn Heights
Yale Elementary SchoolYale
Building Healthy Communities: Middle School Program City
Aspen Ridge Middle SchoolIshpeming
Cesar Chavez Academy Middle SchoolDetroit
Creekside Intermediate SchoolDexter
DeWitt Junior High SchoolDeWitt
Forest Park School DistrictCrystal Falls
Gladstone Junior High SchoolGladstone
Grass Lake Middle SchoolGrass Lake
Hamady Middle SchoolFlint
Hamilton Middle SchoolAllegan
Hope of Detroit AcademyDetroit
International Academy of FlintFlint
Pickford Public SchoolsPickford
Southwest Detroit Community SchoolDetroit
Superior Central School DistrictEben Junction
Suttons Bay Middle SchoolSuttons Bay
Wakefield-Marenisco SchoolWakefield
Washington Middle SchoolCalumet
Building Healthy Communities: Step Up for School Wellness City
Adams ElementaryZeeland
Alice M. Birney Middle SchoolSouthfield
Arno Elementary SchoolAllen Park
Ashley Elementary SchoolAshley
Barryton Elementary SchoolBarryton
Bay City AcademyBay City
Belmont Elementary SchoolBelmont
Bendle Senior High SchoolBurton
Bentley Elementary SchoolCanton
Boyne Falls Public SchoolBoyne Falls
Bozymowski Center ElementaryWarren
Bozymowski Center Secondary SchoolSterling Heights
Central Middle SchoolPort Huron
Chapman Elementary SchoolRockwood
Charlton Heston AcademySt. Helen
Clara B. Bolen Elementary SchoolTawas City
Clarkston Elementary SchoolClarkston
Detroit Enterprise AcademyDetroit
Doyle/Ryder SchoolFlint
Dudley STEMBattle Creek
Dundee Middle SchoolDundee
Edison Elementary SchoolFort Gratiot
Evergreen AcademyKalamazoo
Field Elementary SchoolCanton
Fort Gratiot Middle SchoolFort Gratiot
Freeman SchoolFlint
Fruitport High SchoolSpring Lake
Fruitport Middle SchoolFruitport
Garfield Elementary SchoolPort Huron
George R. Carter Middle SchoolClio
Gobles Elementary SchoolGobles
Godfrey-Lee Early Childhood Ctr.Wyoming
Goodrich High SchoolGoodrich
Goodrich Middle SchoolGoodrich
Greyhound Intermediate SchoolEaton Rapids
H.D. Crull Elementary SchoolPort Huron
H.T. Smith Elementary SchoolFowlerville
Hampton Elementary SchoolBay City
Handley SchoolSaginaw
Harrison CenterPort Huron
Holland Woods Middle SchoolPort Huron
Holmes Foundation AcademyFlint
Hope Academy of West MI Charter SchoolGrand Rapids
Houghton Lake Adult EducationHoughton Lake
Indian Woods Elementary SchoolKimball
Ishpeming Middle/High SchoolIshpeming
Jessie Rouse SchoolSaginaw
Kalamazoo Central High SchoolKalamazoo
Keewahdin Elementary SchoolFort Gratiot
Keith Bovenschen SchoolWarren
Kindergarten Discovery CenterBenton Harbor
Kolb Elementary SchoolBay City
Lake City Elementary SchoolLake City
Lakeview Elementary SchoolNegaunee
Lamora Park SchoolBattle Creek
Lighthouse Education CenterSaint Joseph
Lincoln Elementary SchoolZeeland
Long Lake Elementary SchoolTraverse City
Ludington High SchoolLudington
Luther C. Klager Elem. SchoolManchester
Madison Elementary SchoolMadison Heights
Manton ElementaryManton
Marcellus Elementary SchoolMarcellus
Morse Elementary SchoolTroy
Neithercut Elementary SchoolFlint
Oakridge Upper Elementary SchoolMuskegon
Oaktree Elementary SchoolGoodrich
Onsted Elementary SchoolOnsted
Orchard View Early ElementaryMuskegon
Our Lady of the Lake SchoolPrudenville
P.D. Graham Elementary SchoolWestland
Palmer SchoolGrand Rapids
Parchment Middle SchoolParchment
Peace Lutheran SchoolUtica
Pennfield North SchoolBattle Creek
Pennfield Purdy SchoolBattle Creek
Pierce SchoolDavison
Pinewood SchoolJenison
Polk Elementary SchoolDearborn Heights
Port Huron High SchoolPort Huron
Port Huron Northern High SchoolPort Huron
Post Franklin Elementary SchoolBattle Creek
PREP AcademyAdrian
Pullman Elementary SchoolPullman
Raupp SchoolLincoln Park
Redford Service Learning AcademyRedford
Reid Elementary SchoolGoodrich
Ridge Wood Elementary SchoolNorthville
Ring Lardner Middle SchoolNiles
Roosevelt Elementary SchoolPort Huron
Rutherford Winans AcademyDetroit
Schall Elementary SchoolCaro
Shields Elementary SchoolSaginaw
South Elementary SchoolWatervliet
South Range Elementary SchoolSouth Range
St. Germaine Elementary SchoolSt. Clair Shores
St. Joseph Elementary SchoolBattle Creek
St. Mary SchoolCharlotte
St. Peter Lutheran SchoolHemlock
T.R. Davis Elementary SchoolDollar Bay
Three Oaks Public School AcademyMuskegon
Valley Center SchoolComstock
Verellen Elementary SchoolEssexville
Woodland Park AcademyGrand Blanc
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, a nonprofit mutual insurance company, is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. BCBSM provides and administers health benefits to more than 4.6 million members residing in Michigan in addition to employees of Michigan-headquartered companies who reside outside the state. In 2018, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan received the J.D. Power Award for “Highest Member Satisfaction Among Commercial Health Plans in Michigan.” For more company information, visit and

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MI Blues Perspectives is sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, a nonprofit, independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association