Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island Awards 2016 Community Health Grant to South County Food, Fitness and Fun

Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island (BCBSRI) is awarding one of six 2016 BlueAngel Community Health Grants (BACHG) to South County Food, Fitness and Fun (SCFFF). SCFFF was awarded $6,000 to enhance its successful intervention program that provides overweight and obese young people and their families with fitness and nutritional counseling in a fun and friendly environment. 
SCFFF, offered through the University of Rhode Island, supports children between the ages of 6-10 years old. A 16-week program, SCFFF engages overweight and obese children and their parents in hands-on lessons and discussions about nutrition and fitness. The families work closely with pediatricians, dietitians and fitness specialists to learn how to eat healthy and become physically active as part of their daily routine.
The occurrence of childhood obesity in America has tripled, and today nearly one in three children between the ages of 2 and 19 years old are obese or overweight. Children and adolescents who are overweight or obese are at an increased risk for type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, asthma, sleep apnea, joint pain, along with several other acute and chronic health problems. Aside from obesity’s physical consequences, obese children and youth are susceptible to unique social and psychological problems like stigmatization, bullying, and low self-esteem. Childhood obesity also costs up to $14 billion per year in direct healthcare costs.
For the third year in a row, the BlueAngel Community Health Grant program will focus on this critical issue. This year, six new grants and six transitional grants totaling $286,000 will be awarded to 2016 BACHG recipients.
“Blue Cross recognizes that the health of our state is largely dependent on the health of our children, and believes that all children should have the opportunity to grow up healthy, happy and safe,” said Carolyn Belisle, Managing Director of Community Relations at BCBSRI. “Our BlueAngel Community Health Grant program provides us a vehicle to continue to have a meaningful impact on our community and we look forward to partnering with SCFFF to further this work.”
SCFFF is operated through the University of Rhode Island. 
The BACHG program awards local organizations that teach and support healthy habits, from better nutrition to increased physical activity. BCBSRI accepts and reviews proposals for the BACHG program once a year. Each letter of intent received is reviewed to determine compliance with eligibility and funding priorities. Grant award winners were notified in December 2015 with funding beginning in January 2016.
About the BACHG Program
The BACHG program was launched in 2002 and since then has invested more than $3 million into quality programs that have touched the lives of more than 257,000 people in the state. The program is a key component in BCBSRI’s vision of enhancing the quality of life for Rhode Islanders by increasing the quality of and access to healthcare services. The BACHGs are made possible by the BCBSRI Community Health Fund, a corporate donor-advised fund of The Rhode Island Foundation.
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