Empire BlueCross BlueShield
October 13, 2011 – New York, NY – The Guinness Book of World Records now has decidedly local angle, thanks to an innovative collaboration between Empire BlueCross Blue Shield Foundation and Boys & Girls Clubs across the Empire State.
"We're proud to announce today that thanks to the hard work and energy of Boys & Girls Clubs throughout New York, a new Guinness World Record for Star Jumps (Jumping Jacks) has been set," said Mark Wagar, president of Empire BlueCross BlueShield.
"On behalf of our associates, I congratulate and applaud all the Boys & Girls Club members who jumped their way to a new World Record earlier this year. By taking part in this event you've inspired all of us to reach for new heights and to make healthy, active lifestyles a part of our daily lives."
This past spring, Boys & Girls Clubs in New York joined their peers to break the Guinness World Record for the most people doing "jumping jacks" – or "star jumps" – at the same time. To break the record, more than 278 people needed to complete the attempt. In all, 20,425 Boys & Girls Club members, staff and volunteers completed the required two minutes of jumping. Official certification of the new world record was recently received from Guinness World Records (Guinness).
The jumping event occurred simultaneously at 362 Boys & Girls Clubs across the country through Boys & Girls Clubs of America's (BGCA) Triple Play program. This program, supported by founding sponsor Coca-Cola and the Empire BlueCross BlueShield Foundation, encourages kids to eat healthier, become more physically active and increase their ability to engage in healthy relationships.
Jumping jacks are called star jumps in some countries, because the arms, legs and head form a five-pointed star. The record achieved by the Boys & Girls Clubs is defined by Guinness as "the most people star jumping simultaneously at multiple venues for two consecutive minutes."
New grants to expand Triple Play programming
Also today, the Empire BlueCross BlueShield Foundation announced new grants to expand Triple Play programming at Boys & Girls Clubs in New York.
Boys & Girls Clubs of Harlem is receiving a $10,000 start up grant to implement Triple Play programming for the first time at their sites.
Glen Cove Boys & Girls Club at Lincoln House is receiving a $1,500 Gamesroom Festival grants will bring Club members together for fun competitions that challenge their minds and build friendships.
"The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports childhood obesity rates have nearly tripled since 1980," said Wagar. "This means that our kids are less healthy than their parents were at the same age, and it means that our kids face increased risk of lifelong health challenges such as heart disease and diabetes unless we do something to help them learn healthy habits."
A recent study of more than 2,000 children ages 9-14 who attend Boys & Girls Clubs showed that Triple Play succeeded in getting them to exercise more, eat healthier foods and feel better about themselves. Triple Play kids increased to 90 percent of the federally recommended amount of daily exercise, which is 60 minutes a day for children, while their peers outside the program decreased to 78 percent.
"Triple Play has rapidly become one of the most popular programs offered at Boys & Girls Clubs across the country," said Wayne Moss, BGCA's senior director of Sports, Fitness and Recreation. "We're thrilled to have Empire BlueCross BlueShield Foundation as a co-sponsor of the program and for the work they are doing to make sure that we are able to bring Triple Play to additional youth. The Empire BlueCross BlueShield Foundation is truly committed to improving the health of kids and families, and these grants will make an immediate, positive difference in the lives and the futures of our Club members."
Empire BlueCross BlueShield is committed to addressing health disparities and improving public health in New York. Through its State Health Index – a compilation of public health measures – the health plan continually works to identify the issues most in need of attention and directs its charitable support and volunteer efforts toward improving health in those areas. The $11,500 in start-up and supplementary grants announced today are part of a three-year, $5 million commitment from Empire BlueCross BlueShield's parent company foundation to Boys & Girls Clubs of America to promote youth health.
"Both of these efforts truly represent an ongoing partnership in health," said Wagar. "We strongly feel that by encouraging active lifestyles at a young age, we are helping support a healthier future for our children."
About Triple Play
Triple Play: A Game Plan for the Mind, Body and Soul was launched in 2005 by Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) in collaboration with the Department of Health and Human Services with support from The Coca-Cola Company to encourage kids to eat healthier, become more physically active and increase their ability to engage in healthy relationships. A two-year study of more than 2,000 children ages 9-14 showed that Triple Play succeeded in getting them to exercise more, eat healthier foods and feel better about themselves. The study found that Triple Play kids increased to 90 percent of the federally recommended amount of daily exercise, which is 60 minutes a day for children, while their peers outside the program decreased to 78 percent. To date, Triple Play has helped more than one million kids learn the importance of physical activity and proper nutrition. In 2011, the Empire BlueCross BlueShield Foundation joined BGCA and Coca-Cola as a Triple Play sponsor. Learn more about the program at www.bgca.org/tripleplay.
About Boys & Girls Clubs of America
For more than 100 years, Boys & Girls Clubs of America (www.bgca.org) has enabled young people most in need to achieve great futures as productive, caring, responsible citizens. Today, nearly 4,000 Boys & Girls Clubs serve some 4 million children and teens through Club membership and community outreach. Clubs are located in cities, towns, public housing and on Native American lands throughout the country and on U.S. military installations worldwide. They provide a safe place, caring adult mentors, and high-impact youth development programs on a daily basis during critical non-school hours. Priority programs emphasize academic success, good character and citizenship, and healthy lifestyles. In a Harris Survey of alumni, 57 percent said the Club saved their lives. National headquarters are located in Atlanta.
About Empire BlueCross BlueShield Foundation
Through charitable grant making, the Empire BlueCross BlueShield Foundation (and the Empire BlueCross Foundation), trade names of the Anthem Blue Cross Foundation L.L.C., independent licensees of the BlueCross BlueShield Association, serving residents and businesses in the 28 eastern and southeastern counties of New York State, promotes Empire's inherent commitment to enhance the health and well-being of individuals and families in communities that Empire serves. The Foundation focuses its funding on strategic initiatives that address and provide innovative solutions to health care challenges, as well as promoting the Healthy Generations Program, a multi-generational initiative that targets specific disease states and medical conditions. These include: prenatal care in the first trimester, low birth weight babies, cardiac morbidity rates, long term activities that decrease obesity and increase physical activity, diabetes prevalence in adult populations, adult pneumococcal and influenza vaccinations and smoking cessation. The Foundation also coordinates the company's annual associate giving campaign and its parent foundation provides a 50 percent match of associates' campaign pledges.
About Empire BlueCross BlueShield:
Serving New Yorkers for over 75 years, Empire BlueCross BlueShield is the largest health insurer in New York supporting nearly six million members and more than 38,000 business, union and small employers in New York. Empire BlueCross BlueShield (Empire) is the trade name of Empire HealthChoice Assurance, Inc., and Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield HMO is the trade name of Empire HealthChoice HMO, Inc., independent licensees of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, serving residents and businesses in the 28 eastern and southeastern counties of New York State. Additional information about Empire is available at www.empireblue.com. Also, follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/healthjoinin, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/HealthJoinInEmpire, or visit our YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/healthjoinin.