CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — Launched as a pilot in 34 schools in 2005, BlueCross WalkingWorks® for Schools is entering its sixth year with 150 schools and nearly 70,000 students currently enrolled for the 2010/2011 school year.

During the past school year, BlueCross WalkingWorks for Schools saw more than 95,000 Tennessee students participate in regular physical activity, with more than 60 participating schools earning “Extra Mile” status by surpassing the program requirements. The program hopes to continue that success into this school year, teaching students healthy habits at a young age. Enrollment is open for the spring semester through the end of December.

A plan unveiled Sept. 16 by state health commissioner Susan Cooper and Gov. Phil Bredesen revealed that more than 69 percent of adults and 39 percent of children are obese or overweight, costing the state of Tennessee more than $1.8 billion in health-related problems, including diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease.

BlueCross WalkingWorks for Schools seeks to address the growing trend of childhood obesity by teaching K-5 students the benefits of a healthy lifestyle. The program requires classes to walk at least 5 minutes a day for 12 weeks each semester, while Extra Mile Schools walk at least 10 minutes a day, adding up to at least 600 minutes or 40 miles during a 12-week period.

New ads launching this week demonstrate the impact BlueCross WalkingWorks for Schools has had since its launch, with Tennessee students walking 17 million miles, enough to have gone to the moon and back 35 times.

The ads are part of a new campaign that highlights community programs BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee supports to benefit all Tennesseans. For more information, visit www.bcbst.com/impact.

About Blue Cross WalkingWorks for Schools

Blue Cross WalkingWorks for Schools was developed by BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee and the Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Health, in partnership with FedEx, the Tennessee Department of Education, the Tennessee Department of Health and the Tennessee Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance. BlueCross WalkingWorks for Schools was created to address the growing trend of decreased physical activity in the lives of our young people by teaching children in grades K-5 the benefits of proper exercise as part of a healthy lifestyle. For more information, visit www.walkingworksforschoolstn.com

About BlueCross

BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee's mission is to provide its customers and communities with peace of mind through affordable solutions for health and healing, life and living. Founded in 1945, the Chattanooga-based company is focused on reinventing the health plan for its 3 million members in Tennessee and across the country. Through its integrated health management approach, BlueCross provides patient-centric products and services that drive health improvement and positively impact health care quality and value. BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Inc. is an independent licensee of the BlueCross BlueShield Association. For more information, visit the company's website at www.bcbst.com.