Healthy eating and physical activity solutions for kids

CIGNA Team Efforts for Healthy Kids

CIGNACigna and Healthy Kids Challenge Team Up To Help Fight Childhood Obesity

The CIGNA & HKC programs are providing tools to schools, physicians, and employers

CIGNA and Healthy Kids Challenge are working together to fight childhood obesity. We're gathering key KidLinks™ together in a 3-pronged approach to make a difference for America's kids. Schools, health care professionals, and employers, are all KidLinks™ targeted for leading the way to healthy change.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), there are nine million overweight children in the United States, a number that has tripled over the past 25 years. In addition to the CIGNA Foundation sponsoring Healthy Kids Challenge in schools, CIGNA will make the concepts and tools available to employers and work with physicians to help them address healthy lifestyle concepts with kids and parents more effectively.
"Obesity is becoming an epidemic in this country and today's children are one of the most at- risk populations. However it is not something that can be addressed with a quick-fix program. Preventing obesity requires both societal change and behavior modification," said Dr. Lorna Friedman, senior medical director, CIGNA HealthCare. "CIGNA's approach is designed to make sure we reach target audiences in many different ways through multiple vehicles and improve the health and fitness of school-age children."

HKC-CIGNA Showcase Schools

The CIGNA Foundation is sponsoring participation of schools in 6 cities, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Atlanta, Houston, Dallas and Richmond, beginning with school year '05-'06. Showcase schools are committed to active participation to achieve the goals of the program, including collecting relevant data to measure success.

All Schools Can Take the Challenge

The Healthy Kids Challenge Program will still be available for all schools. Schools/programs can fund themselves or seek local funding sources to Take the Challenge. Healthy Kids Challenge serves as a guide and resource to elementary schools and kids programs around the country. HKC helps to identify and implement individualized solutions to creating fun, simple action steps for healthy eating and physical opportunities for kids and their families. The motto is "All Kids C.A.N..........Connect Activity and Nutrition!" HKC emphasizes helping all kids in all situations to truly be their best! Taking the Challenge includes two levels of opportunity to get involved:

  • Stepping Up is intended for those who have gotten healthy changes started and need more ideas and activities to support their initiative.
  • Making Strides is for the school/program that is committed to long range efforts to create sustainable healthy changes. This level of Challenge will offer hands-on support from the Healthy Kids Challenge team of experts to respond to teacher, parent and administrator questions and concerns, and to help the school develop and implement specific action plans to improve eating habits and increase physical activity amongst kids, parents, and school staff.

Program and fee information for the two levels of Taking the Challenge is available here.

Health Care Professionals Take the Challenge
In the battle against obesity, research shows that behavior change requires physician intervention to increase success. Studies also find that physicians have difficulty addressing the issue of obesity with parents. Health care professionals report that parents sometimes have difficulty addressing the issue head-on due to lack of knowledge or misconceptions.

Today’s children are being diagnosed with serious medical conditions and complications never before found in kids, due in part to obesity. For example, in the past, type 2 diabetes accounted for less than five percent of childhood diabetes. Today, it accounts for as much as 45 percent of new cases. The number of children with type 2 diabetes is rising in tandem with the increase in childhood obesity rates.

CIGNA and the Healthy Kids Challenge have developed physician information and tools to help them support and guide kids and families with making healthy lifestyle changes focusing on healthy eating and a more active lifestyle. Click here to view the online toolkit.

Employers Take the Challenge
Obesity is one of the biggest drivers of health care costs in the U.S. today. The CDC estimates that the total current cost of obesity in the United States is more than $100 billion in direct and indirect costs. In addition, research shows that obese children have a 70 to 80 percent chance of becoming obese adults. Since today’s children are tomorrow’s workers, the issue of childhood obesity raises serious concerns about the future of tomorrow’s workforce.

CIGNA and the Healthy Kids Challenge have developed client tools, tips and guidelines for instituting healthy environmental changes in the workplace. It includes information about preventing childhood and adult obesity, along with materials for employees with tips to incorporate healthy eating and physical activity at home. Click here to view the online toolkit.

CIGNA (NYSE: CI) provides employers with benefits, expertise and services that improve the health, well being and productivity of their employees. Serving millions of customers, clients and members in the United States and around the globe, CIGNA's operating subsidiaries offer a full portfolio of medical, dental, behavioral health, pharmacy and vision care benefits and group life, accident and disability insurance. CIGNA's international operations also offer health care coverage for expatriate employees. For more information, go to