Independence Blue Cross Foundation Announces Healthy Futures Schools

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PHILADELPHIA, Aug. 22, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Independence Blue Cross (IBC) Foundation today announced the 20 schools that are participating in the IBC Foundation Healthy Futures Initiative, a three-year, $2.7 million program focused on improving child wellness in the Philadelphia region beginning this school year. Schools participating in Healthy Futures will receive innovative tools and resources to help children Eat Right, Get Fit, and Stay Well – the initiative's three core components.

To bring strong nutrition, fitness, and wellness support to each school, the IBC Foundation has partnered with expert regional and national leaders, including The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), the Philadelphia Union, The Vetri Foundation for Children, Greener Partners, Fit Essentials, Villanova University Center for Obesity Prevention and Education and InnerLink, (Health eTools for Schools).

"It takes a village to keep a child healthy. That's why the Independence Blue Cross Foundation has brought together the best of the best for this initiative," said IBC Foundation President Lorina Marshall-Blake. "Healthy Futures is unique. While most programs focus just on fitness or nutrition, Healthy Futures takes a comprehensive approach to address not only these two critical components of childhood wellness, but also prevention. We believe that this 360-degree view will make a meaningful and measurable difference in child wellness."

Healthy Futures is comprised of the following components:

  • Eat Right. The Vetri Foundation for Children will implement its Eatiquette program at five schools. Eatiquette equips schools to prepare and serve nutritious meals to children, and educates students and parents on the importance of nutrition. The Eatiquette program also promotes life skills such as teamwork and responsibility. Greener Partners' health educators will bring the Seed to Snack program and a hands-on mobile farm to classrooms to improve student attitudes about fruits and vegetables.
  • Get Fit. The Philadelphia Union, a Major League Soccer team, will implement school fitness programs, bringing coaches and players to schools for hands-on fitness training and motivation. In addition, Fit Essentials will provide personalized school exercise classes, enhanced with at-home routines.
  • Stay Well. CHOP nurses will visit schools to record child wellness metrics, improve school health screening rates, and ensure all students are given resources to maintain good health.

The Foundation will conduct a three-year study tracking changes in indicators such as body mass index (BMI), prevalence of chronic disease (e.g., diabetes, high blood pressure), nutritional awareness and compliance with mandatory screenings to measure the results of the program. The study's findings will help IBC Foundation and its partners shape recommendations for future child wellness initiatives as well as replicating the Healthy Futures program in other regions.

"We are thrilled to be one of the first schools to participate in Healthy Futures and to build upon the health and wellness efforts we've implemented over the past few years," said Dr. Naomi Johnson Booker, CEO at Global Leadership Academy Charter School, which hosted an event today with the IBC Foundation to showcase the Stay Well component of the program with CHOP. "As both educators and community members, we care about the futures of our students, so working with the IBC Foundation and its partners to ensure those futures are brighter, happier, and healthier is a great honor."

The IBC Foundation is working with the following schools on the Healthy Futures Initiative:

Philadelphia County

  • F. Amedee Bregy Elementary School
  • Global Leadership Academy
  • LaSalle Academy
  • St. Martin de Porres School
  • William M. Meredith Elementary School
  • William H. Zeigler Elementary School

Montgomery County

  • Jenkintown Elementary School
  • St. Francis of Assisi School
  • St. Joseph the Protector School

Delaware County

  • Bell Avenue Elementary School
  • Drexel Neumann Academy
  • Media Elementary School
  • Park Lane Elementary School
  • Stetser Elementary School

Chester County

  • Assumption BVM School
  • St. Agnes School
  • St. Elizabeth Parish School

Bucks County

  • Abraham Lincoln Elementary School
  • Ralph Waldo Emerson Elementary School
  • Cornwells Elementary School

About the Independence Blue Cross Foundation

The Independence Blue Cross Foundation is a charitable, private foundation, whose mission is to transform health care through innovation in the communities it serves. It was launched in October 2011 by Independence Blue Cross, an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. The IBC Foundation and Independence Blue Cross, which is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year, are both committed to improving the health and wellness of the people of southeastern Pennsylvania. The foundation targets the following areas of impact:

  • Caring for our most vulnerable: Supporting nonprofit community health center clinics that deliver quality, cost-effective primary, medical, and dental care to uninsured and underinsured people.
  • Enhancing health care delivery: Strengthening the nursing workforce through education, career development, and research.
  • Building healthy communities: Partnering with community leaders and programs to address community health and wellness needs.

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CONTACT: Media Contact: Ruth Stoolman Independence Blue Cross 215-241-4807 (office) 215-280-3335 (cell)

Source:Independence Blue Cross