Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois Awards $1.4 Million to Combat Childhood Obesity

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois has announced grants totaling $1.4 million to fourteen Chicago- and Springfield-based initiatives designed to help reduce childhood obesity and teach children how to live healthy lifestyles.

Instead of funding individual organizations, the BCBSIL Health and Wellness Grants will provide support for initiatives in underserved neighborhoods that foster collaboration among multiple organizations that traditionally have addressed only individual aspects of childhood health and wellness. The grants will help groups develop a process to develop initiatives, collaborate effectively, and execute their plans.

Organizations spearheading initiatives include Casa Central, which works in Humboldt Park; the Chicago-based Parkways Foundation; Springfield-based Big Brothers and Big Sisters of the Illinois Capital Region; KaBOOM! in Rogers Park; and the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine in Springfield.

"Many schools no longer offer physical activity programs, and many children in the target neighborhoods do not have access to safe places to play or to sources of healthy food," said Clarita Santos, BCBSIL director of Community Health Initiatives. "Through these grants, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois is encouraging recipient organizations to combine their resources to address these issues and help children in these neighborhoods live healthier lives."

For a complete list of organizations leading neighborhood initiatives, visit the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois Web site.