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Oakland Kids 'Make Time For Health'

More than 1,000 Oakland elementary school students attend health festival to prevent nicotine addiction and improve emotional well-being

Oakland, CA (May 9, 2019) – Blue Shield of California and the American Heart Association have teamed up to prevent nicotine addiction among elementary school students using tobacco education and building emotional well-being, starting with 3rd to 5th graders in Oakland.

2019 Make Time for Health girls chasing heart balloon - Copy

Most studies focus on the alarming rate of e-cigarette use amongst high schoolers, but the kids are actually starting much younger.  According to the 2018 National Youth Tobacco Survey, e-cigarette usage, commonly referred to as vaping, rose by 48% for middle school students from 2017 to 2018.

The “Make Time for Health” program encourages Oakland elementary students to focus on four pillars: a tobacco-free lifestyle, increased physical activity, emotional and social well-being, and balanced nutrition. Studies show that healthy behavior positively impacts learning. Improved overall health of students is correlated with the ability to focus on learning, retention and academic excellence.

“Any parent can tell you that telling your kids not to do something isn’t very effective,” says Paul Markovich, CEO of Blue Shield of California. “What we want to do is build knowledge and emotional resiliency in children, so that when they are pressured to do things that aren’t good for their health, they will have the confidence to push back.”

Now in its second year, Blue Shield of California’s “Make Time for Health Festival” takes place at Estuary Park in Oakland, California, on May 9th. Nearly 300 Blue Shield of California employees will be volunteering their time at the festival. 2019 marks the 80th anniversary of Blue Shield of California, and the company aims to engage 80% of its employees in corporate citizenship activities.

“Working with students to provide them with tools for physical and emotional well-being is critical to their academic success as well,” said Alden “Chip” McDonald, MD board member of the American Heart Association, Bay Area Division. “ The AHA and Blue Shield of California are committed to inspiring 3rd to 5th graders to maintain and develop an active lifestyle as students and into adulthood.”


About Blue Shield of California
Blue Shield of California strives to create a health care system worthy of our family and friends that is sustainably affordable. We are a not for profit, independent member of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association with care for four million members, 6,800 employees and more than $20 billion in annual revenue. Founded in 1939 and headquartered in San Francisco, Blue Shield of California and its affiliates provide health, dental, vision, Medicaid and Medicare health care service plans in California. The company has contributed more than $500 million to Blue Shield of California Foundation since 2002 to have an impact on California communities.

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