A statewide platform promoting daily recess for North Dakotans of all ages
FARGO – Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota (BCBSND) wants North Dakotans to make a point of having recess every day, and it has big plans to help people do that by promoting, advocating and supporting a statewide platform called, "The Official Sponsor of Recess."
Paul von Ebers, president and CEO of BCBSND, said as The Official Sponsor of Recess, BCBSND will sponsor places and opportunities for activity – and active play – across North Dakota including the classroom, workplace and where North Dakotans gather. "It's important for all of us to find time in our day for a break – whether it's a 15-minute walk around your workplace, or a physical activity break for kids in the classroom."
The mental and physical benefits of recess are well-documented. In North Dakota, nearly 28% of residents are classified as obese by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, according a 2011 survey.
"Many chronic conditions stem from being overweight. And it's those same chronic conditions that create the majority of the cost and burden to our health care system. Getting folks to make activity a daily habit will do a lot to lower health care costs," von Ebers said.
Recess YES! debuts
As The Official Sponsor of Recess, BCBSND's first major program is Recess YES! The program provides North Dakota kindergarten through fifth grade teachers tools and ideas to incorporate recess – a brain break or physical break – during the school day in the classroom. The purpose of Recess YES! is to promote daily activity in the classroom and help engage students in daily, healthy activity. Research shows that daily physical activity helps students improve their physical health, mental well-being and cognitive skills.
All North Dakota elementary school teachers – 4,600 – were sent a Recess YES! kit, which included an introductory letter from von Ebers, a poster, a Recess YES! CD (music specially produced for this initiative), a resource guide with tips on how teachers can incorporate recess into their classroom day, a commitment form for their students to make a promise to be active, and a website (RecessYES.com) link to visit for more information, including the Recess YES! video.
The response so far from teachers who have received the kits has been overwhelmingly positive. BCBSND has also received inquiries from other teachers and early childhood education advocacy groups interested in receiving the Recess YES! resources.
In the coming weeks and months, BCBSND will be rolling out additional programs under The Official Sponsor of Recess to encourage North Dakotans of all ages to be active and live healthier lives.
About Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota
BCBSND is a member-owned, not-for-profit independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. As North Dakota's largest provider of health care coverage, BCBSND is taking BOLD steps to collaborate with doctors, hospitals, clinics and members to ensure affordable access to quality health care in the state. To learn more about BCBSND, visit www.BCBSND.com.