Pre-diabetes, Children's Wellness Programs Look to Get South Carolinians Active

Les Masterson, for HealthLeaders Media , December 16, 2009

In an attempt to reach out to pre-diabetics and improve children's physical activity, BlueChoice HealthPlan of South Carolina is adding two disease management programs in January.

Under its Great Expectations umbrella of services, the Columbia, SC-based independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association will enroll all members with pre-diabetes conditions into a new program automatically. Those members will receive educational materials about diet, exercise, and risk-factor modification, have free access to nationally recognized diabetes education centers, and may receive free glucose monitors.

The insurer will also provide telephonic outreach to high-risk members and other Web resources. BlueChoice hopes these items will help pre-diabetics manage their pre-diabetes and prevent or delay Type 2 diabetes.

The second Great Expectations program is called "WalkingWorks for South Carolina Schools," which will promote physician activity to reduce childhood obesity, a major risk factor for diabetes. In this program, BlueChoice will collaborate with schools to create a walking program within the school setting. The insurer will provide free initial training and telephonic support for teachers and administrators and will give children educational materials about healthy food choices and offer access to free interactive tools.

Rolanda Aiken, BlueChoice HealthPlan's vice president of health services, said these programs are important because 10% of South Carolinians have diabetes and the state's direct and indirect healthcare costs for diabetes totaled about $2.6 billion in 2007.

"With nearly 55% of South Carolina children inactive after school, our state leads the nation in the percentage who do not participate in extracurricular sports or lessons," said Aiken. "South Carolina ranks sixth nationally in the highest proportion of overweight children, seventh in the highest proportion of children who are obese, and 10th in the highest proportion of children who fail to meet physical activity recommendations."

BlueChoice's other Great Expectations programs focus on asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, maternity, back care, depression, heart disease, heart failure, men's health, women's health, migraine, weight loss, smoking cessation, and alcohol management. More than 185,000 people in South Carolina are enrolled in Great Expectations programs.

Les Masterson is an editor for HealthLeaders Media.

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