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Blue Cross and Detroit Lions team up to get Detroit’s kids moving, improve health

kids with lion 2

How many times did you hear your mom say, “Go outside and play!!” and “Eat your fruits and vegetables!?”

She wasn’t just tired of having you roughhouse in her kitchen or living room, she really wanted to you to get exercise and fresh air. And, she wanted to be sure you had the energy to play with your friends and that meant eating your fruits and vegetables.


That’s exactly what Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and the Detroit Lions want for our kids. They’ve teamed up to tackle childhood obesity by partnering on the Lions’ “Play 60” campaign, an initiative to encourage kids to get 60 minutes of physical activity each day. The goal is to get kids to adopt healthy habits early in life and carry them into adulthood.

Childhood obesity is a huge problem. The Center for Disease Control says it has more than doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents in the past 30 years. The percentage of children aged 6–11 years in the United States who were obese increased from 7% in 1980 to nearly 18% in 2012. Similarly, the percentage of adolescents aged 12–19 years who were obese increased from 5% to nearly 21% over the same period. In 2012, more than one third of children and adolescents were overweight or obese.

Our kids need to put down the video games, turn off the computer and TV and get moving.

To help kids get active this summer, Blue Cross created the #MIKidsCan Play like a Lion Challenge. Kids across Michigan can pledge to “Play like a Lion” for a chance to earn one of 10 VIP experiences at Ford Field when the Lions take on the New York Jets Thursday, Aug. 13.

“The #MIKidsCan Play like a Lion Challenge is a great way to kickoff this collaboration by letting kids know that practicing healthy habits can be a lot of fun,” says Andy Hetzel, vice president of corporate communications for Blue Cross.

It’s a four-week program. Here’s how it works:

Week 1: Eat like a Lion

Fill half your plate with fruits and veggies for lunch and dinner every day this week. By developing a well-balanced diet as a kid, you’re building healthy habits that will last a lifetime. Detroit Lions eat nutritious food like lean proteins, fruits and veggies and drink plenty of water.

Week 2: Throw like a Lion

Grab a friend or family member and toss a ball around for 30 minutes each day this week. Teamwork is a valuable lesson to learn on and off the field. It’s what helps the Detroit Lions play their best.

Week 3: Play like a Lion

It’s summer, so get outside and play! Be active for 60 minutes every day this week. It’s important to be physically active to grow up healthy and strong. Take it from the pros – in addition to scheduled practices and games, Detroit Lions players do cardio workouts and weight training for at least 60 minutes per day.

Week 4: Sleep like a Lion

Getting enough sleep is key to overall health. Get 8 to 12 hours of sleep every night this week – the recommended amount for kids ages 6 to 12. Detroit Lions players get enough sleep each night to be well-rested and have the energy they need to get in the game. Maintain a bedtime routine and power down all screens at least one hour before bedtime. This makes it easier to fall asleep.

Here are the challenge details:

  • Kids ages 6-12 are eligible to participate
  • Each participant will pledge to complete four, weekly health activities during July, with the permission of their parents/guardians
  • Upon completion of the challenge, 10 grand prize winners will be selected to participate in a VIP experience, along with a friend, which includes on-field activities and a player meet and greet at the Lions’ Aug. 13 game at Ford Field.
  • Each winner receives four tickets to attend the game.
  • Winners will be announced Aug. 6.

“The #MIKidsCan Play like a Lion Challenge is another great example of how both the Lions and Blue Cross can leverage our partnership to aid Michigan’s youth in forming healthy habits to last a lifetime,” say Elizabeth Parkinson, the Detroit Lions’ senior vice president of marketing and partnerships.

Check out this video of Matthew Stafford and Joique Bell exercising with kids at the Detroit Academy of Arts & Sciences last year.

Matthew Stafford

Matthew Stafford

Joique Bell

Joique Bell

After registering, parents can create a customized Play 60 trading card with their child’s photo. They can also share photos of their kids completing the four challenges for an opportunity to win weekly, prize giveaways of autographed Matthew Stafford gear.

One winner will be randomly selected each week from photo submissions using the hashtags #MIKidsCan and #Contest. Parents can get more information on the challenge and register their kids to participate at

Over the last 10 years, Blue Cross has given more than $6 million in support of kids’ health and wellness initiatives across the state, reaching more than 100,000 children.

For more information on the #MIKidsCan Play like a Lion Challenge and Blue Cross’s ongoing efforts to help improve childhood health, visit or follow #MIKidsCan on Twitter.

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3 comments on “Blue Cross and Detroit Lions team up to get Detroit’s kids moving, improve health

  1. Video games sometime makes child idol as playing games on tabs and T.V for all the time cause children a number of health issues. So Blue Cross help children to shut down their games and play something physically.

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