BCBSA introduces childhood obesity toolkit

WASHINGTON: The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBSA) is addressing childhood obesity and diabetes through a new campaign that targets pediatricians and families in advance of back-to-school visits.

WASHINGTON: The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBSA) is addressing childhood obesity and diabetes through a new campaign that targets pediatricians and families in advance of back-to-school visits.

The campaign provides the Good Health Club Physician Toolkit to pediatricians, who can in turn provide the kid-friendly educational materials to patients and their families.

The goal is to encourage “talk about childhood obesity and diabetes,” said Jeff Smokler, executive director of external affairs for BCBSA. The program was piloted with pediatricians in five markets, starting in 2009, after the association identified obesity as a key issue two years ago.

“Seventy percent found the tools were effective,” said Smokler,

Of the trade association's 39 health plans, 30 are now using the toolkit, he added. BCBSA represents Blue Cross and Blue Shield health insurers across the US.

Powell Tate, which works with BCBSA on a project basis, is providing support for the program. The firm referred questions back to the organization.

To launch the toolkit, the communications team held a media event at the National Press Club in Washington, as well as a webcast that had 200 participants, said Smokler.

Media outreach has focused on national healthcare and features journalists, as well as trade press in the health space, including those media outlets that cover large employers.

The toolkit focuses on a “5-2-1-0” message – eat five servings of fruits and vegetables each day, limit computer and TV time to two hours, get one hour of physical activity, and remove sweetened drinks.

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