Blue Cross Blue Shield opens grant to help students learn healthy habits

Published: Sep. 14, 2022 at 2:20 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas has opened a grant for K-12 educators to help teach students healthy lifestyle habits.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas says school nurses, teachers and administrators can now apply for a Healthy Habits for Life grant which offers up to $200,000 to help schools implement healthy lifestyle programs in K-12 schools.

BCBSKS said school-based programs are required to address at least one of four criteria to be eligible: reduce cardiovascular risk, increase physical activity, learn healthy eating habits and reinforce positive mental health among students.

Since it was created in 2006, BCBSKS said the Healthy Habits for Life grant program has awarded nearly $1.8 million through more than 1,840 grants. It said school personnel have used past funds to educate students on healthy portion sizes, begin a daily walking program for students before or after school, invest in equipment for P.E. classes and more.

“We really encourage school personnel to collaborate and get creative when thinking of a potential program for their school,” said Marlou Wegener, chief operating officer of the BCBSKS Foundation. “The more engaged and invested the students are in the program, the more likely they are to continue the healthy habit outside of school and incorporate it into their daily life.”

BCBSKS indicated that school nurses, physical education, health and family and consumer science teachers, athletics directors, principals and other school administrators are encouraged to look over the program overview, application and tip sheet HERE.

“Poor health in students can lead to serious medical issues and affect the long-term physical and mental health as students become adults. The BCBSKS Foundation is pleased to be able to financially support schools in their efforts to reinforce the need for healthy habits that will serve children now and well into the future,” Wegener said.

BCBSKS noted that funds will be distributed in late December. It said recipients can use the funds for programs offered during the 2023 calendar year.

The organization noted that the deadline to apply for the grant is Oct. 21. To apply, click HERE.