10:36 AM

Free Healthy Habits Program for Kids Marks 12th Year

Teachers can register now for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona's February Walk On! Challenge

Kids spend nearly one-third of their day at school. It only makes sense that school can serve as a great resource for learning healthy habits. Any teacher in Arizona who wants to be a part of teaching fourth- and fifth-graders healthy habits has that option with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona’s (BCBSAZ) free health education program, the Walk On! Challenge. Registration for the February program is open to fourth- and fifth-grade teachers now through Nov. 18.

Teachers who register receive a tool kit from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona with in-class materials, including weekly lesson plans and ideas for challenging students to put their new healthy habits into use. The program is all-inclusive, making it seamless for teachers to incorporate into their regular school schedule.

Additionally teachers who complete the Challenge in February 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

“I cannot express the amazing changes I have seen in my students from the Walk On!W Challenge. We began the program with the pre-surveys, and with many blank faces on what this challenge would do for our lives,” said Monique Peralta, fourth-grade teacher at Carillo K-5 Magnet School. “Pretty soon the students wanted to be ambassadors of healthy living and wanted to share what they learned with others. They decided to go to the lower grades and teach what they learned through the Walk-On! Challenge. Not only did these fourth graders learn about a healthy lifestyle, but also immediately passed on what they learned to the rest of the school!”

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 12 years Walk On! has been incorporated into hundreds of classrooms across the state, making a difference in how students and their families view their choices about healthy food, physical activity and their use of screen time.

“Childhood obesity is not just a problem. It is an epidemic that is stealing years from children's lives and there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight,” said Dr. Vishu Jhaveri, chief medical officer BCBSAZ. “We designed the Walk On! Challenge to be easy for teachers to include in their curriculum because we want as many schools as possible to join the Challenge. Every Arizona child deserves a chance to learn healthy options and then have supported practice making those choices.”

Registration is required to ensure students who reach the 5-2-1-0 goal at least 15 days in the month will receive their reward and be entered into a drawing for prizes. This year’s prizes include vivosmartR 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 www.walkonaz.com for additional details.

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About Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona (BCBSAZ) is committed to helping Arizonans get healthier faster and stay healthier longer. With a focus on connecting people with the care they need, BCBSAZ offers health insurance and related services to nearly 1.5 million customers. BCBSAZ, a not-for-profit company, is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association. The company employs nearly 1,500 people in its Phoenix, Chandler, Flagstaff and Tucson offices. Through advanced clinical programs and community outreach, BCBSAZ is moving health forward. To learn more, visit azblue.com.