Regence joins national effort to combat childhood obesity and diabetes

Health insurer partners with Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association to aid local pediatricians’ patient communication with The Good Health Club Physician Toolkit

(Portland, OR) – In collaboration with the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association (BCBSA), Regence will launch the Good Health ClubSM Physician Toolkit – unique educational materials designed to foster better communication between pediatricians and their patients on childhood obesity and diabetes prevention. Regence is the largest health insurer in the Northwest/Intermountain region, serving Oregon, Idaho, Utah and select counties in Washington state.

The toolkit, developed in consultation with the American Diabetes Association (ADA) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), also builds on materials that Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies have successfully used to encourage healthy choices and behaviors for children. The Good Health Club Physician ToolkitSM is available in both English and Spanish and contains tip sheets, wall posters, physician reference materials, tracking sheets, and brochures with educational information. In Oregon and Washington, the toolkit will be available to a select number of Regence’s network physicians, and it will be more widely available in Idaho and Utah.

"Regence’s participation in this initiative aligns with our commitment to supporting our members’ efforts to develop healthy lifestyle habits,” said Mark Ganz, President and CEO of Regence. "Early communication in childhood is an important first step to developing a lifetime of healthy habits. The Good Health Club Physician Toolkit gives pediatricians the tools they need to help put young patients on the road to good health.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in the last two decades type 2 diabetes (formerly known as adult-onset diabetes) has been reported among U.S. children and adolescents with increasing frequency. One-in-three U.S. children born in 2000 could develop diabetes during their lifetime and the prevalence of obesity among children aged 6 to 11 more than doubled in the past 20 years, going from 6.5 percent in 1980 to 17 percent in 2006.

The Good Health Club Physician Toolkit features messages from the "Good Health Club," a group of animal characters that encourages children to:
• Eat 5 servings of fruits and vegetables every day
• Limit screen time to 2 hours or less
• Get at least 1 hour of physical activity
• Limit sweetened drinks to 0

Regence is making the toolkit available in time for back-to-school physician visits prior to the 2010-2011 school year. The Good Health Club Physician Toolkit supports the goals of the Obama administration's efforts to curb childhood obesity. As community-based health plans, Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies have pioneered programs at the local level to help families exercise regularly and take charge of managing their overall health and well-being – many of these programs can help inform the Let's Move! childhood obesity initiative.

For example, Regence BlueShield of Idaho has targeted obesity and diabetes prevention with Move It, which was designed to bring awareness and action to the rising rate of childhood obesity. To participate, Idaho state legislators wear a Regence-issued pedometer and record the number of steps they take for four weeks during a legislative session. The three legislators -- one senator and two representatives who are teamed up within their legislative districts -- who walk the farthest earn $5000, $3,000 or $2000 depending on their finishing place, for schools of their choice from their legislative district. Regence donates the funds for use in any health-related project at the schools. This year, participating legislators in Idaho walked more than seven million steps, or about 3,800 miles. In recent years, Regence also had success with this program in Oregon, Washington and Utah.

To view the Good Health Club Physician Toolkit and for more information about what the Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies are doing in their communities to combat childhood obesity and diabetes, please visit www.bcbs.com/goodhealthclub.

About Regence

Regence is the largest health insurer in the Northwest / Intermountain Region, offering health, life and dental insurance. Regence serves more than 2.5 million members as Regence BlueShield of Idaho, Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon, Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Utah and Regence BlueShield (selected counties in Washington). Each health plan is a nonprofit independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Regence is committed to improving the health of our members and our communities, and to transforming our health care system. For more information, please visit www.regence.com or follow us on Twitter.

About the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association

The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association is made up of 39 independent, locally operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies that collectively provide healthcare coverage for nearly 102 million Americans. For more information on the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association and its member companies, please visit www.BCBS.com.