Building Healthy Families program at UNK Receives a $20,000 Wellness Grant From Blue Cross and Blue Shield

Dr. Kate Heelan
Building Healthy Families program co-directorUNK- The University of Nebraska at Kearney Building Healthy Families program has received a $20,000 Blue Health Advantage Wellness Grant from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska.

“The Building Healthy Families program is a family-centered team approach to pediatric weight loss,” said Dr. Kate Heelan, Building Healthy Families program codirector. Overweight children, ages 6-11, and their families will participate in a 12-week program that teaches lifelong healthy eating and activity behaviors.

“We developed this program to help families of overweight children to build confidence in making healthier choices, and there really aren’t a lot of programs in town to help kids and their parents make lifestyle changes,” Dr. Heelan said.

The first program began in April. Fifteen children, who represented eight families, participated. The next program will begin in September and will meet on Monday nights from 6-8 p.m. at the Human Performance Lab in the UNK Health and Sports Center.

The Blue Cross Blue Shield wellness grant focuses on several areas of major statewide concern, including childhood obesity, diabetes prevention and providing health care to the uninsured. A total of $82,000 in grants has been awarded to programs throughout Nebraska.

“We pride ourselves on the trustworthiness of our brand and the confidence that others have placed in us,” said Celann LaGreca of Omaha, vice president of Blue Cross Blue Shield Community Investment. “The BHA Wellness Grants are among a number of charitable contributions and events we sponsor throughout the state, because we believe that giving back is an important part of being a good corporate citizen.”

The wellness grant program was established in 2008 to support health and wellness programs statewide, especially in Greater Nebraska. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska representatives will travel the state this summer to visit the communities and deliver checks to the winners.