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S.C. BlueCross Tackles Childhood Weight with Toolkit for Physicians

February 22, 2010

Columbia, S.C. – As part of a mission to improve the health of South Carolina children, BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina and BlueChoice® HealthPlan of South Carolina are mailing a Pediatric Healthy Weight Toolkit and Parent Guide to all 3,400 pediatricians, primary care/family medicine doctors and obstetricians in their statewide networks.
 
The toolkit is intended to help physicians identify overweight or obese pediatric patients and recommend treatment interventions, track patient progress using age-appropriate body mass index (BMI) charts, diagnose and treat patients with conditions related to being overweight such as diabetes, and use communications strategies to encourage positive behavior change.
 
The parent guide is a two-page brochure the physicians can give to parents offering practical information, such as appropriate food portions to serve children and offering recommendations for exercise and reducing television time.
 
“Thirty-four percent of children in South Carolina are overweight,” said Dr. Laura Long, BlueCross vice president of clinical quality and health management. “The epidemic of childhood obesity is contributing to increasing numbers of children developing conditions like type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. We would like to partner with physicians to reverse this troubling trend.”
 
Dr. J.B. Sobel, BlueChoice HealthPlan chief medical officer, said, “We hope these materials will assist physicians in taking an active approach to preventing, evaluating and managing pediatric obesity. As clinicians, they have a special opportunity to help guide the long-term health of our younger population.”
 
The toolkits are being mailed this week, and more may be downloaded from both companies’ Web sites.
 
Physicians can also refer children who are BlueChoice HealthPlan members into its Great Expectations® for health program for childhood obesity. Great Expectations features clinically trained health education personnel who help BlueChoice HealthPlan members better manage diseases or chronic conditions.
 
Headquartered in Columbia, S.C., BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina and BlueChoice HealthPlan of South Carolina (www.BlueChoiceSC.com) are independent licensees of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. The only South Carolina-owned and operated health insurance carrier, BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina comprises more than 30 companies involved in health insurance services, U.S. DoD health program and Medicare contracts, other insurance and employee benefits services, and a philanthropic foundation that funds programs to improve health care and access to health care for South Carolinians.

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