Columbia, S.C. – BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina is building on its years of adult weight management member counseling by rolling out a health coaching program, Healthy Weight for Kids and Teens, geared to ages 2-17.
The first part of the program was launched last year with the distribution of a tool kit to 3,400 South Carolina physicians for use with their overweight or obese young patients and their parents. Now the final component is being made available free to members of BlueCross’ group accounts that have opted to use the program.
The child or teen must have a body mass index at or above the 85th percentile to participate. Doctors use body mass index – figured by comparing weight and height – to help spot those who can improve their health by losing weight.
Under the BlueCross program for group accounts, parents and children will receive educational materials, scheduled phone calls from a health coach, and unlimited access to a BlueCross health coach. The coaches will help parents and the member become more aware of weight-related health risks, build skills and confidence to combat weight issues, and set goals to manage weight.
“The goal is to provide information and empower parents and the member through positive, personalized health coaching,” said BlueCross Vice President of Clinical Quality and Health Management Dr. Laura Long. “Overweight or obese children are at increased risks for health problems, as well as emotional, mental and social challenges and a higher risk of obesity in adulthood. Because of these risks and resulting medical complications, these children experience higher hospitalization rates and health costs.”
Healthy Weight for Kids and Teens is an example of S.C. BlueCross’ support of the medical community’s efforts to improve the health of South Carolinians. The health coaching BlueCross provides to members will supplement the care plan developed by the member’s doctor.
Besides Healthy Weight for Kids and Teens, other health coaching provided by BlueCross under its My Health EssentialsSM program includes smoking cessation, stress management, back care, cholesterol management, and weight management for adults. BlueCross currently has more than 286,000 South Carolinians identified or enrolled in a disease management, maternity or wellness program.
South Carolina ranks 39th nationally in prevalence of childhood overweight and obesity cases. More than 32 percent of children ages 10-17 with private insurance in South Carolina are overweight or obese.
Founded in 1946 and headquartered in Columbia, S.C., BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina is an independent licensee 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 45 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.