|Blues Plans Setting Sights On Sugar And Fat
A new Pediatric Obesity and Diabetes Prevention Pilot
Program has been launched by the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association
(BCBSA) in five states in an effort to help stem childhood obesity and
to prevent future cases of diabetes.
The pilot program consists of an easy-to-use obesity and
diabetes prevention toolkit designed forphysicians including reference
materials, as well as educational and behavior changing tools for
doctors to share with patients and parents.
The toolkit, developed in consultation with the American
Diabetes Association (ADA) and the American Academy of Pediatrics
(AAP), encourages healthy choices and behaviors. Blues plans in Texas,
New Mexico, Mississippi, North Carolina and Kansas City, Mo. are in the
"Diabetes is not merely a condition … it is an
epidemic," said Larry Hausner, ADA CEO. Nearly 24 million children and
adults in the United States live with diabetes and an additional 57
million Americans are at risk, making the status quo "unbearable," he
The toolkit materials display healthy messages from The
Good Health Club, featuring a group of animal characters with messages
encouraging healthy eating and physical activity.
The pilot program includes more than 1,600 physician
practices. Toolkits will be tested through participating Blues.
Nationally, the Blues cover more than 100 million Americans and boast
that 80 percent of U.S. doctors participate in their plans.
"Although chronic diseases [such as] diabetes are among
the most common and costly health problems, they are also among the
most preventable," said Ken Thorpe, executive director, Partnership to
Fight Chronic Disease. The Atlanta-based Partnership is a national- and
state-based coalition of patients, providers, business, labor and
health policy experts.
Upon conclusion of the pilot, BCBSA will use the findings to create a toolkit to be made available nationally.
Address: Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, 225 North Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL 60601; www.bcbs.com.