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Weight Control

Pennsylvania Schools Launch Program To Combat Childhood Obesity

With 30 percent of American children between the ages of 6 and 11 being overweight and 15 percent obese, according to the American Obesity Association, a new solution has been introduced to Philadelphia schools. Health eTools for Schools is a web-based software program designed to help schools conquer the issue of obesity.

In a five county region approximately 665,000 students will benefit from the new program thatwill be offered free to 625 schools by Independence Blue Cross (IBC). Students, school nurses and administrators will be able to access the program through a web portal. There they can learn how to improve students' food choices, pick physical activities and help keep school administrators in compliance with state and federal mandates for measuring body mass index (BMI).

"For busy school administrators and teachers, Health eTools will simplify their efforts to improve students' nutrition and fitness," said Joseph A. Frick, president and CEO of IBC.

This program will help with the annual reporting of students' BMI to their parents. Nurses will now be able to conduct these screenings with a handheld computer and upload to online student health records. This will prove to be more accurate, faster and easier.

"We believe that healthier students are less likely to be absent from school, pay better attention in class, and may even earn better grades, which makes for happier schools for everyone," said Dr. Richard Snyder, senior vice president, IBC Health Services and leader of the Health eTools project.

The content for the software program aligns with the Pennsylvania academic standards and designed to help students K-12 better understand nutrition and the importance of exercise through scientific trials. IBC partnered with InnerLink, INC. through a licensing agreement, a company known for producing educational resources using available technology.

For more information about how schools can register for the health eTools for Schools program, call 800-988-6983 or visit

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