February 10, 2011 – As a part of its ongoing work to address childhood obesity and promote healthy lifestyles in Georgia, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia (BCBSGa) today announced a three-year, $323,392 grant from its corporate foundation to Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) which will support the organization’s proven health and wellness program, Triple Play, at local Clubs throughout the state.

Created by BGCA in 2005 with founding sponsor Coca-Cola, Triple Play: A Game Plan for the Mind, Body and Soul encourages Club members to eat healthier (mind), become more physically active (body) and increase their ability to engage in healthy relationships (soul). To date, more than one million young people have participated in the program.

“We are truly committed to improving the lives of the people we serve and the health of our communities and Boys & Girls Clubs of America shares that commitment,” said Morgan Kendrick, president, BCBSGa. “Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia is proud to support the Triple Play program because we know that if we give our kids a healthy start, they can hopefully avoid life-long health issues and spend their time achieving their dreams.”

The Georgia-focused funds are part of a $5 million grant from the parent company’s Foundation, which will support Triple Play programming in all 50 states and several Triple Play-related initiatives in 2011. These include an attempt to break a physical activity-related Guinness World Record and helping Club families get healthy through the second annual Triple Play Fit Family Challenge.

Boys & Girls Club of America estimates that the grant will benefit more than 1,620 youth throughout Georgia.

“Too many children are not eating smart and getting the proper amount of exercise,” said Wayne Moss, senior director, Sports, Fitness & Recreation, BGCA. “Our Triple Play program directly addresses this issue by teaching kids fun ways to stay active, setting the stage for a lifetime of healthy habits.”

Triple Play is proven to improve lifestyles and behaviors. A two year study of more than 2,000 children ages 9-14 showed that Triple Play succeeded in getting them to exercise more, eat healthier foods and feel better about themselves. The study found that Triple Play kids increased to 90 percent of the federally recommended amount of daily exercise, which is 60 minutes a day for children, while their peers outside the program decreased to 78 percent.

The grant is an important part of BCBSGa’s commitment to addressing health disparities and improving public health throughout the state. Through its State Health Index – a compilation of public health measures – the health plan continually works to identify the issues most in need of attention and directs its charitable support and volunteer efforts toward improving health in those areas.

“The State Health Index truly guides and shapes our work throughout Georgia,” said Robert McCormack, medical director for BCBSGa. “By tracking our progress year-over-year we are working to make sure that the programs we support and the fine work of our non-profit partners really is improving health.”

“The short- and long-term dangers associated with childhood obesity bring special importance to our work with Boys & Girls Club of America. We are excited to partner with our local Clubs to help them to head off one of the country’s most pressing health challenges,” McCormack continued.

More information about the Triple Play program is available at www.bgca.org/tripleplay.