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Press Release


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

OASIS and BCBSGa Call on the Easter Bunny to CATCH Healthy Habits: What’s in your Easter basket this year?

ATLANTA – March 29, 2012 – With obesity rates across all age groups dangerously high, the contents of those colorful baskets become ever more important. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that more than one third of children and adolescents are overweight or obese, along with 32 percent of men aged 60 and older and 30.5 percent of women aged 65 and older. Filling up a basket to overflowing with candy and chocolate, while a time-honored tradition, may not be the wisest course of action this year.

In an effort to assist the Easter Bunny (and parents) in making healthy choices, the OASIS Institute (OASIS), a national education organization, in collaboration with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia (BCBSGa)’s Foundation, offer these healthier alternatives:

1. Fill plastic Easter eggs for baskets with mini boxes of raisins, wrapped sugar-free candy or small toys instead of chocolate or other sugary candy.
2. Replace some chocolate rabbits and candy eggs in baskets with apples, grapes, oranges and other colorful fruits.
3. Engage children in dying hard boiled eggs that become colorful and tasty replacements for store-bought candy eggs in baskets.
4. Start a tradition of “eating like a rabbit” by having children eat one carrot or celery stick for every piece of candy they consume.
5. Plan an Easter Egg Hunt to get children outside and running around.
 
“Breaking old habits, especially at times like Easter, is tough,” admitted Marcia Kerz, president of The OASIS Institute. “But it’s also an opportunity to start some new traditions, ones that are healthier. The key is to make healthy foods fun.”

OASIS sponsors a program called CATCH Healthy Habits here in Atlanta and in other cities across the country, thanks to the generous support of the BCBSGa Foundation. The program pairs adult volunteers ages 50 and older with children in kindergarten through the fifth grade to encourage healthier eating and physical activity. Weekly one-hour sessions include active games, healthy snacks and education about food choices that will help anyone reach their goals.

“We’re certainly not saying that children (or adults) shouldn’t enjoy chocolate or candy,” said Dr. Mark Kishel, Medical Director, BCBSGa. “It’s one of the fond memories I have of being a kid. However, it is important that healthy foods are also incorporated and that sweet intake is controlled.”

OASIS partners with local schools, youth clubs and other organizations to bring the program to area children. Locally, OASIS offers the program through the Atlanta Regional Commission Area Agency on Aging to local Boys & Girls clubs, YMCAs and schools in the metro Atlanta area. CATCH Healthy Habits is funded locally by a grant from the BCBSGa Foundation.

CATCH Healthy Habits volunteers are still needed this summer at a number of locations in the metro Atlanta area.  For more information about volunteering, please contact Mary Newton, CATCH Healthy Habits program coordinator, 404-463-4554, mnewton@atlantaregional.com, or visit www.oasisnet.org

About the OASIS Institute
OASIS is a national education organization dedicated to enriching the lives of adults age 50 and older through lifelong learning and service. Offering stimulating programs in the arts, humanities, health, technology and volunteer service, OASIS brings people together to learn, lead and contribute in their communities. The OASIS Institute is nationally headquartered in St. Louis, Mo. For more information, visit www.oasisnet.org.

About Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC)
The Atlanta Regional Commission is the official planning agency for the 10-county Atlanta Region, including Cherokee, Clayton, Cobb, DeKalb, Douglas, Fayette, Fulton, Gwinnett, Henry and Rockdale counties. The Atlanta Regional Commission serves as a catalyst for regional progress by focusing leadership, attention and planning resources on key regional issues.  ARC is the designated Area Agency on Aging for the region and the sponsor of metro Atlanta RSVP, which provides civic engagement opportunities to and for older adults who want to empower their peers in their communities.

About the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia Foundation
Through charitable grant making, the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia Foundation LLC, an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, promotes Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia’s inherent commitment to enhance the health and well-being of individuals and families in communities that the company serves. The Foundation focuses its funding on strategic initiatives that address and provide innovative solutions to health care challenges, as well as promoting the Healthy Generations Program, a multi-generational initiative that targets specific disease states and medical conditions. These include: prenatal care in the first trimester, low birth weight babies, cardiac morbidity rates, long term activities that decrease obesity and increase physical activity, diabetes prevalence in adult populations, adult pneumococcal and influenza vaccinations and smoking cessation.  The Foundation also coordinates the company’s annual associate giving campaign and its parent foundation provides a 50 percent match of associates’ campaign pledges. The Blue Cross and Blue Shield names and symbols are registered marks of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.

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/healthjoinin, 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/.

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