Lower Income Families to Benefit from Child Obesity Prevention Grant
Lower income families often lack the information awareness and financial means to support a healthy lifestyle. As a result, the children in these families are at a greater risk of being overweight or obese. To help counteract this problem, a pilot program aimed to educate low income families on the importance of nutrition and exercise is receiving a grant to continue its positive impact.
More than $74,000 will be donated to Variety Health Center’s childhood obesity prevention program by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma. An official check presentation ceremony will take place at 10 a.m. on June 5 at Variety’s Lafayette Pediatric and WIC Clinic, 500 S.W. 44th Street, Oklahoma City. The grant will help fund the salary for a full-time nutritionist, nutrition teaching models and simple exercise supplies for low income families referred to the program by Variety providers.
"As a health care insurer, we recognize the immediate and long-term effects of obesity on a child’s health," said Bert Marshall, president, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma. "This alliance with Variety Health Center supports our commitment to improve the health and wellness of the Oklahoma communities we serve."
"We started this childhood obesity program a little over a year ago and were concerned about continued funding. Now the program can continue to make a positive difference in the lives of children struggling with obesity." said Michael Dover, chief executive officer, Variety Health Center. "Many talk about the importance of wellness, but this grant demonstrates the character and vision of a real corporate leader putting words into deeds."
The mission of Variety Health Center is to provide maternal and child health care to low income families, and Variety has been doing this for over 75 years. In 2008 Variety provided health care to 19,253 low income women and children, none of whom had private health insurance. No one is denied services because of an inability to pay. Variety patients have made over $100,000 free-will donations to the clinic this year, averaging $3.50 per gift. Variety Health Center is a United Way agency.
Throughout its 69-year history, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma has been committed to meeting the health care financing needs of Oklahomans. As the state’s oldest and largest private health insurer, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma provides health care benefit plans for more than 600,000 Oklahomans. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma is a division of Health Care Service Corporation, which also operates Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans in Illinois, New Mexico and Texas. Health Care Service Corporation is a mutual legal reserve company and an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association
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