Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island has been committed to improving the health of Rhode Islanders for more than 75 years. In 2016, we will continue that work by facilitating healthy habits in the next generation. Our 2016 grant partnerships will invest resources to initiatives that contribute to a healthy weight for all Rhode Island children. Preventing obesity during childhood is critical since health habits formed at a young age have a huge impact on health outcomes in adulthood. About one third of American children can be classified as either overweight or obese - a proportion which has remained relatively consistent since 2003. Funding in this area is vitally important, especially in low-income communities and communities of color in which children face an even higher risk of becoming obese than the national average. We believe childhood obesity is one of the most critical issues facing our children and our state:
- Today, childhood obesity is projected to cost children five years of their lives. If youth health continues on its current path, this generation will be the first to not live longer than their parents.
- Children and adolescents who are overweight or obese are at an increased risk for type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, asthma, sleep apnea, joint pain, along with several other acute and chronic health problems. Aside from obesity’s physical consequences, obese children and youth are susceptible to unique social and psychological problems like stigmatization, bullying, and low self-esteem.
- Childhood obesity costs up to $14 billion per year in direct healthcare costs.
By collaborating with organizations that are working to reverse or prevent the epidemic of childhood obesity, we hope to play a role in making our state healthier and stronger while saving lives and easing the financial strain on our already overburdened healthcare system.