The single factor proven to help lower unemployment, foster job growth and increase incomes? Good health.
It’s easy to blame video games and cable TV for the rise in childhood obesity. But there’s more at play—literally. And the problems multiply as kids turn into adults. That’s why we’re taking action.
In our state, almost one-third of kids ages 10-17 are considered overweight or obese.1 It’s a problem that leads to more children with Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and even emotional health issues—all which come with a hefty price tag that extends well into adulthood.
But it’s also a problem with a workable solution.
Recent research says that if just 18 percent more elementary school children started being physically active for 25 minutes three times a week, they would save $21.9 billion in medical costs and lost wages over their lifetimes.2
What will it take to make that happen? Certainly, committing to prioritizing children’s fitness, instilling healthy habits and creating safe environments for kids to play. So, we’re investing in giving children more opportunities to make physical activity and healthy nutrition a way of life.
Here are a few of the ways we’re supporting North Carolina children:
KaBOOM! Play is what all kids have in common, and it’s crucial to their physical and social development. Blue Cross NC not only funds KaBOOM! community playgrounds—our employees help build them. We recently finished our 11th playground, this one in Rocky Mount.
Be Active Kids Knowing that a child’s early years are critical for a lifetime of good health, the Blue Cross NC Foundation created an innovative program aimed at children up to age 5. Resources and training equip adults who work with these children to develop positive physical activity and nutrition habits.
Hideaway Woods This two-acre outdoor play area at the Durham Museum of Life and Science features a flowing stream, nature sculptures and eight interconnected treehouses. Hideaway Woods encourages natural discovery and outdoor play. There’s even a special area with scaled sides, bridges and imagination play for younger kids.
PlayPrints Making play more fun, PlayPrints are colorful ground markings and games installed in more than 20 parks statewide to encourage the young—and the young at heart—to be more active and imaginative outdoors.
Backpack Buddies Not only is childhood obesity a problem in our state—child hunger is too. In fact, one in five NC children is at risk of hunger. Many children from low-income households receive free school breakfasts and lunches—but only during weekdays. That’s why Blue Cross NC supports this important program, which provides low-income children with 10-12 pounds of nutritious, kid-friendly groceries on weekends.
We’re determined to make a difference in NC children’s lives. After all, they’re our future leaders and decision makers. We need them to be healthy!