“Making the play” – something quarterback Matthew Stafford does week after week each season with the Detroit Lions – is something he couldn’t accomplish without good nutrition and a healthy lifestyle.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan (BCBSM) wants to know how kids in grades four through eight would make Michigan healthier through its second annual “Make the Play for Healthy Habits” video contest.

The student that submits the winning video will get to star as a host of his/her own healthy lifestyle video blog series on aHealthierMichigan.org, and will receive a school assembly featuring Stafford.

Video submissions are being accepted Jan. 30 – March 29. In April, 10 semifinalists will be selected and notified and their video submissions will be posted on aHealthierMichigan.org for a two-week public voting period. The winner will be announced in early May.

“Last year we had such a tremendous response from kids across Michigan to this contest, we are excited to do it again,” said Andrew Hetzel, BCBSM vice president for corporate communications. “Kids are naturally creative. Working with their parents and teachers, Blue Cross wants to see their creativity come to life with the goal of making their schools and communities healthier.”

Video submissions should be no more than two minutes long. They should creatively answer the question “What would you do to make Michigan healthier?” and include the student’s perspective on how themselves, their family, teachers and classmates can live a healthier life. Students should explain how they would communicate healthy lifestyle choices with their families and fellow students.

Students can submit a video using any digital recording device using an MP3 format, such as a smartphone, iPad, Flip video or webcam, or they can upload a video via YouTube. For more information, please visit aHealthierMichigan.org/kidcontest.

Students, grades four through eight, must be enrolled in an accredited public or private learning institution within Michigan to participate.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), childhood obesity has both immediate and long-term effects on health and well-being. The CDC also reports that 14.2 percent of Michigan adolescents in grades nine through 12 are overweight, while 11.9 percent are obese. In children ages two to five years, 16.3 percent are overweight and 13.3 percent are obese.

Schools play a particularly critical role in combating obesity by establishing a safe and supportive environment with policies and practices that can encourage healthy behaviors. Schools also provide opportunities for students to learn about and practice healthy eating and physical activity behaviors.

The “Make the Play for Healthy Habits” kid contest is an extension of BCBSM’s ongoing efforts to combat childhood obesity by encouraging kids to share their ideas using creativity and new media. In addition, this week BCBSM announced that elementary schools can apply for a new round of grant funding from Building Healthy Communities, a partnership with the Michigan Fitness Foundation, Wayne State University’s College of Education Center for School Health and the United Dairy Institute of Michigan. Since 2009, BCBSM, the program’s creator and primary funder, has invested more than $3 million in the Building Healthy Communities program in an effort to promote healthier lifestyles and prevent childhood obesity and its associated health risks.

Immediate health effects of childhood obesity:
• Obese youth are more likely to have risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as high cholesterol or high blood pressure. In a population-based sample of five- to 17-year-olds, 70 percent of obese youth had at least one risk factor for cardiovascular disease.
• Obese adolescents are more likely to have pre-diabetes, a condition in which blood glucose levels indicate a high risk for development of diabetes.
• Children and adolescents who are obese are at greater risk for bone and joint problems, sleep apnea, and social and psychological problems such as stigmatization and poor self-esteem.

Long-term health effects of childhood obesity:
• Children and adolescents who are obese are likely to be obese as adults and are therefore more at risk for adult health problems such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, several types of cancer and osteoarthritis. One study showed that children who became obese as early as age two were more likely to be obese as adults.
• Overweight and obesity are associated with increased risk for many types of cancer, including cancer of the breast, colon, endometrium, esophagus, kidney, pancreas, gall bladder, thyroid, ovary, cervix and prostate, as well as multiple myeloma and Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Knowledge and prevention:
• According to the CDC, healthy lifestyle habits, including healthy eating and physical activity, can lower the risk of becoming obese and developing related diseases.
• The dietary and physical activity behaviors of children and adolescents are influenced by many sectors of society, including families, communities, schools, child care settings, medical care providers, faith-based institutions, government agencies and the media, as well as the food, beverage and entertainment industries.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Blue Care Network are nonprofit corporations and independent licensees of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. For more company information, visit bcbsm.com.

Source: PR Newswire

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