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Press Release

$815,000 Grant from Anthem Blue Cross Foundation Bringing Proven Wellness Program to Southern California

Volunteers Needed for Program Uniting Generations in the Fight Against Obesity

LOS ANGELES – July 28, 2011 – Remember riding your bicycle all over town until dark and then coming home to a hot, healthy meal your mom prepared? Lots of adults do, and now many of them are volunteering to help the next generation and – in the process themselves – get and stay healthy through an innovative program called CATCH Healthy Habits.

Created by the OASIS Institute (OASIS), CATCH Healthy Habits, is a unique intergenerational health program that pairs older adults with children to encourage healthier eating and physical activity.  If you haven’t heard of the program you probably will soon because it just got a big boost.

Today, Anthem Blue Cross announced CATCH Healthy Habits will be coming to the Southern California area (Escondido, Long Beach, Los Angeles and San Diego) thanks to an $815,130 grant from its corporate foundation.   The funds are part of a larger, $2.7 million grant commitment from the foundation of Anthem Blue Cross’ parent company that will expand the program to 18 cities across the country over the next two years.

Obesity-related expenses and complications are quickly becoming one of the nation’s most pressing public health challenges. Currently, 35 percent of adults age 50 and older lead sedentary lifestyles and obesity rates in the United States have more than tripled in the last three decades among children ages 6 to 11.

Volunteers age 50 and over are needed for the program. Many will work with children in kindergarten through the fifth grade in weekly one-hour sessions to play active games, learn about food choices and make healthy snacks. Volunteers can also contribute their skills to help with training, community awareness, coordination and other leadership roles.

“We know that if we can get kids off to a healthy start they have a better chance at avoiding life-long health issues, including obesity, diabetes and heart disease,” said Pam Kehaly, president of Anthem Blue Cross. “That’s why we are excited to work with OASIS to bring CATCH Healthy Habits to students in Southern California because we have seen the positive difference it makes in the lives of the students and adult volunteers involved in the program.” 

Over the next two years, OASIS will work with its primary partner, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, along with YMCAs, schools and other community partners to reach an estimated 5,000 children and volunteers nationwide.

 “CATCH Healthy Habits not only helps to combat the serious issue of obesity in children, but also benefits the adults who volunteer,” said Kathy Garcia, a program coordinator for OASIS in Escondido. “Research shows that those who volunteer in active programs live longer, healthier lives than those who do not volunteer.”

Volunteers are still needed for the CATCH Healthy Habits programs in Southern California. If you are interested in volunteering, please contact one of OASIS’ area coordinators near you:  in Escondido, contact Kathy Garcia, 760-796-6020,; in the Long Beach/Los Angeles area, contact Nat Hutton, 323-291-3414,; and in San Diego, contact Erica Tollefson, 619-574-0674,

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Media Contacts:  
Kimberly Groneck, OASIS Institute, 314-249-3924,
Mary G. Wilson, OASIS Institute, 314-862-2933 x 282,
Scott Larrivee, Anthem Blue Cross Foundation, 262-523-4746,

About the OASIS Institute
OASIS is a national education organization dedicated to enriching the lives of adults age 50 and older through lifelong learning and service. Offering stimulating programs in the arts, humanities, health, technology and volunteer service, OASIS brings people together to learn, lead and contribute in their communities. OASIS Escondido, Los Angeles/Long Beach and San Diego, are part of a national network that serves a diverse audience through educational centers and community partners. The OASIS Institute is nationally headquartered in St. Louis, Mo. For more information, visit

About Anthem Blue Cross Foundation
Through charitable grant making, the Anthem Blue Cross Foundation LLC, an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Association promotes Anthem Blue Cross’s inherent commitment to enhance the health and well-being of individuals and families in communities that the company 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. ® ANTHEM is a registered trademark of Anthem Insurance Companies, Inc. The Blue Cross names and symbol are registered marks of the Blue Cross Association.

About Anthem Blue Cross
Anthem Blue Cross is the trade name of Blue Cross of California.  Anthem Blue Cross and Anthem Blue Cross Life and Health Insurance Company are independent licensees of the Blue Cross Association. ® ANTHEM is a registered trademark of Anthem Insurance Companies, Inc. The Blue Cross name and symbol are registered marks of the Blue Cross Association. Additional information about Anthem Blue Cross and Anthem Blue Cross Life and Health Insurance Company is available at Also, follow us on Twitter at, on Facebook at, or visit our YouTube channel at