Michigan Middle Schools Invited to Apply for Building Healthy Communities Program to Improve Health and Prevent Childhood Obesity

by Brianna Neace

| 3 min read

DETROIT, March 21, 2017—Michigan middle schools are invited to apply for Building Healthy Communities: Engaging Middle Schools through Project Healthy Schools, a private-public initiative designed to fight obesity and improve childhood health through school-based wellness programming. The program offers on-site and electronic support, curriculum, tools and funding. These resources help establish a sustainable school wellness program, create a healthier school environment and begin to build a culture of health at school. 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 tools and resources to improve student health while creating a healthier school environment. Building Healthy Communities: Engaging Middle Schools through Project Healthy Schools is one of three programs available through Building Healthy Communities to help meet the needs of Michigan schools for the 2017-2018 school year. Interested schools are encouraged to review full program descriptions and application information at Applications are currently being accepted for the Building Healthy Communities: Engaging Middle Schools through Project Healthy Schools program through April 14, 2017 and Building Healthy Communities: Engaging Elementary Schools through Partnership through March 29, 2017. Applications for the Building Healthy Communities: Step Up for School Wellness program will be announced later in 2017. Building Healthy Communities is supported by multiple statewide organizations, including Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, the Michigan Department of Education, the Michigan Fitness Foundation, Michigan State University Extension, Michigan Team Nutrition, United Dairy Industry of Michigan, University of Michigan, Wayne State University Center for Health and Community Impact and Action for Healthy Kids, working together to address childhood obesity and teach kids healthy habits that can be carried into adulthood. Over 230,000 students in more than 500 Michigan schools have been reached through Building Healthy Communities and nearly 150 schools started the program last year. “This Building Healthy Communities program targets middle school students who are starting to make their own independent choices related to healthy eating and physical activity, and provides them with the education and practice to empower them to make the best decisions for their health,” said Lynda Rossi, executive vice president of Strategy, Government and Public Affairs at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Director Nick Lyon said, “By expanding programs such as Building Healthy Communities to reach students of different ages, we are not only broadening our reach, but also reinforcing the importance of healthy eating and physical activity. Schools will be better positioned to provide supportive environments, new skills through physical and nutrition education and opportunities that encourage children to live healthy lifestyles.” “The children begin to understand how their nutrition and activity can influence their health for a lifetime,” said Kim Eagle, M.D, Albion Walter Hewlett professor of Medicine, professor of Health Management and Policy in the University of Michigan School of Public Health, and director, Frankel Cardiovascular Center, University of Michigan. “Our studies on physiologic changes support the belief that Building Healthy Communities: Engaging Middle Schools through Project Healthy Schools does move the bar in terms of students’ choices, and this is associated with rather remarkable changes in risk factors after a 10-week program, which is sustained thru the middle school experience.” For more information on Building Healthy Communities or to apply for any of the programs, visit 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. For more company information, visit and

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