• September 8, 2010

BCBSND toolkits target pediatric obesity and diabetes

In a new program aimed at preventing childhood obesity and diabetes, Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota (BCBSND) is making the Good Health Club Physician Toolkit available to the state's pediatric health care providers. BCBSND provided the toolkit to health care providers in time for providers to give the information to families at back-to-school visits.

The Good Health Club Physician Toolkit features messages from the Good Health Club, a group of animal characters that promotes the 5-2-1-0 philosophy to encourage healthy living habits.

  • 5 - Eat 5 servings of fruits and vegetables every day.
  • 2 - Limit screen time to 2 hours or less every day.
  • 1 - Get at least 1 hour of physical activity every day.
  • 0 - Limit sweetened drinks to 0 every day.

Available in both English and Spanish, the toolkit contains tip sheets, wall posters, physician reference materials, tracking sheets and brochures with educational information. As part of BCBSND's commitment to making communities healthier, BCBSND is making the toolkits available for pediatric health care providers to give to all their pediatric patients, not just BCBSND members.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in the last two decades, Type 2 diabetes has been reported among U.S. children and adolescents with increasing frequency. One in three U.S. children born in 2000 could develop diabetes during their lifetime and the obesity rates among children ages 6 to 11 have more than doubled in 25 years, increasing from 6.5 percent in 1980 to 17 percent in 2006.

"We are concerned about obesity rates in North Dakota—especially pediatric obesity rates—because obesity leads to so many chronic conditions," said Dr. Jon Rice, BCBSND's chief medical officer. "We are particularly concerned about the drastic increase we have seen in Type 2 diabetes in children. Type 2 diabetes is an obesity-related condition that's usually seen in obese adults. Now, nearly one-third of new pediatric diabetes cases in North Dakota are obesity-related."

North Dakota also faces rising childhood obesity rates. According to the 2007 National Survey of Children's Health, 25.7 percent of North Dakota children ages 10-17 are overweight or obese.

Physicians participating in the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association (BCBSA) toolkit pilot were surveyed before and after using the toolkits, and feedback from participating physicians was overwhelmingly positive–79 percent considered the educational materials effective and 74 percent would recommend them to a colleague. Sixty-nine percent of physicians said they discuss health habits with patients and their families more often and the "5-2-1-0" message is in line with what they teach patients.

BCBSND is offering the toolkits in collaboration with the BCBSA. The toolkit was developed in consultation with the American Diabetes Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics. To obtain a copy of a brochure, visit Pediatric Obesity & Diabetes Prevention »