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Press Release


Media Contact: Cheryl Monkhouse
(404) 842-8516
cheryl.monkhouse@bcbsga.com

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia and City of Savannah to Bring Play Streets to Community

Partnership for a Healthier America and the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association to support new initiative to combat childhood obesity by creating spaces for play

(ATLANTA/SAVANNAH) November 14, 2012 – Savannah and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia (BCBSGa) have been selected to receive support to create Play Streets – roads closed to traffic and opened to the community to encourage physical activity. The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association (BCBSA) and Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA), which works with the private sector and its Honorary Chair First Lady Michelle Obama to end the childhood obesity epidemic in America, are working with Savannah and BCBSGa to create new places for kids to play, particularly in neighborhoods that lack open space. 

Over the next year, a collaborative of Savannah community groups, led by the City, will work with BCBSGa, BCBSA and PHA to hold Play Streets in the community. “As Savannah works to make healthy lifestyles as accessible as possible, we need to remember that keeping kids active isn’t a secret – they just need places to be kids. A Play Street provides a place for them to do just that, and it leverages our existing infrastructure. It’s inexpensive, accessible and, most importantly, fun for the whole community. And with BCBSGa partnering in our efforts we’ll be able to bring that much more to the people of Savannah,” says Diana Morrison, Chair of local non-profit Healthy Savannah.

“Every aspect of health is important to us, and that includes the health of the families and communities we serve.  We are excited to work with Savannah on Play Streets events, which encourage kids to get outside and get active while having fun, while hopefully establishing healthy habits to last a lifetime,“ says Morgan Kendrick, president, BCBSGa.

The impact on activity rates from Play Streets is expected to be significant. Pioneer programs have already shown that when given the choice between participating in Play Streets or a sedentary activity, the majority of children chose the more active option of Play Streets. The benefits went beyond children’s health, too. Local economies can profit from the increased foot traffic that Play Streets brings to the businesses in the area.

“Today in America, one in five kids doesn’t have access to a playground – that’s millions of children who can’t pick up a ball, run outside or have fun in a safe environment,” said PHA President and CEO Lawrence A. Soler. “We’re thrilled that BCBSGa and Savannah are proactively tackling this challenge by creating new Play Streets. We can’t wait to see the initiative in action – to see kids running around these new spaces and to hear sounds of traffic replaced by sounds of kids at play.”
Details about the location and dates, and the collaborative of community groups taking on Play Streets events in Savannah can be found online at www.ahealthieramerica.org/playstreets

About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia, Inc. and Blue Cross Blue Shield Healthcare Plan of Georgia, Inc. are independent licensees of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association®. The Blue Cross and Blue Shield names and symbols are registered marks of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Additional information about Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia is available at www.bcbsga.com. Also, follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/BCBSGaPR on Facebook at www.facebook.com/HealthJoinInBCBSGa, visit our YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/healthjoinin or check out the Our Health Connects Us campaign site at http://connects.bcbsga.com/.

About the City of Savannah
The City of Savannah is Georgia’s oldest City and one of the favorite destinations of travelers in the Southeast United States. The combination of history, arts, great weather and welcoming people draw folks from around the world, and define the home of more than 135,000 residents. Savannah’s institutions are also defined by their collaborative nature- partners in the Play Streets program include Healthy Savannah, Savannah Bicycle Campaign, local artists and the Forsyth Park Farmer’s Market, among many others.

About Partnership for a Healthier America
Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA) is devoted to working with the private sector to ensure the health of our nation’s youth by solving the childhood obesity crisis. In 2010, PHA was created in conjunction with – but independent from – First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! effort. PHA is a nonpartisan nonprofit organization that is led by some of the nation’s most respected health and childhood obesity experts. PHA brings together public, private and nonprofit leaders to broker meaningful commitments and develop strategies to end childhood obesity. Most importantly, PHA ensures that commitments made are commitments kept by working with unbiased third parties to monitor and publicly report on the progress its partners are making. For more information about PHA, please visit www.aHealthierAmerica.org and follow PHA on Twitter @PHAnews.

About the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association
The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association (BCBSA) is a national federation of 38 independent, community-based and locally operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies that collectively provide healthcare coverage for 100 million members – one in three Americans. For more information on BCBSA and its member companies, please visit www.bcbsa.com, connect with BCBSA on Facebook, check out BCBSA videos on YouTube or follow BCBSA on Twitter for up-to-date information.
 

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