13:53 PM

Free Healthy Habits Education Effort Aims to Curb Childhood Obesity with School Program

Arizona teachers are invited to register for BCBSAZ Walk On! Challenge and a chance to earn one of five $5,000 grants

In a survey of more than 8,000 fourth- and fifth-grade Arizona children in 2018, 34 percent answered correctly when asked about the recommended daily serving of fruits and vegetables. Only 18 percent of them self-reported eating the recommended five fruits and vegetables per day. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona (BCBSAZ) aims to increase both of these numbers through its school-based free health education program, the Walk On! Challenge, which is now open to teacher registration.

Fourth- and fifth-grade teachers across the state who are looking for a ready-made program to educate their students about the importance of good nutrition and increased movement each day are encouraged to sign up for this year’s BCBSAZ Walk On! Challenge.

Registration for the February program is open now through Nov. 16.

The Walk On! Challenge is a healthy living program that takes place in February each year. For the past 14 years, teachers have used the program to expand their students’ knowledge about the importance of healthy eating and physical activity, along with specific daily goals, because healthy habits are a core component in achieving optimum health.

Teachers who register online at will receive a tool kit from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona with in-class materials, including weekly lesson plans and ideas for inspiring students to put their new healthy habits to use. The program is seamless for teachers to incorporate into their regular school curriculum because it comes with everything teachers need to adapt the program to their classroom. Plus, students will be motivated by the chance to win prizes.

Teachers who complete the Challenge can apply to win one of five $5,000 grants. The application process is simple, and grant monies can help teachers continue the Walk On! objectives all year long.

“This was my fourth year doing the Walk On! Challenge with my students at St. Michael’s, and this was definitely the most successful year yet,” said Penni Hayward, teacher at St. Michael’s in Tucson and 2018 Walk On! Challenge grant winner. “My students were very involved and excited. The best part was we had 100 percent participation, which is an amazing accomplishment. Overall I was so impressed with my fifth-graders and the effort they are still putting forth to be healthy and share this knowledge with others around them.”

The Walk On! Challenge is based on the 5-2-1-0 principles:

  • 5 – fruits and veggies a day
  • 2 – hours a day or less of screen time
  • 1 – hour of physical activity every day
  • 0 – sugary drinks

For 14 years, Walk On! has been incorporated into hundreds of classrooms across the state, making a difference to thousands of students and their families.

Program registration is required to ensure students who reach the 5-2-1-0 goal at least 15 days in the month receive their reward and are entered into a drawing for prizes. This year’s drawing prizes include Garmin vivosmartâ HR activity monitors and gift certificates for sports equipment.

Teachers and school administrators in Arizona who are interested in registering for the Walk On! Challenge or who want to know more about the grant criteria can visit for additional details.