For a 12th consecutive year, the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas Foundation is making grants available to school nurses, teachers and administrators to help them fund school-based programs that will help Kansas children improve their health. School personnel have until Oct. 6 to apply for a Healthy Habits for Life grant to fund a program during 2018 that will help students reduce their cardiovascular risk, increase their physical activity or learn health eating habits.

"The Healthy Habits for Life grant program recognizes that healthy, life-long habits are best learned at a young age, and that a great place to learn such habits is at school where our children spend so much of their daily lives," said Marlou Wegener, chief operating officer of the BCBSKS Foundation.

"I strongly encourage school nurses, physical education, health, and family and consumer science teachers, athletics directors, principals and other school personnel to apply," she said, noting that only one grant per school will be awarded. "These people are on the front line in the on-going campaign to end childhood obesity in Kansas, and the Foundation is happy to provide the financial assistance they need to create programs that will deliver results."

Since its creation in 2006, the Healthy Habits for Life grant program has awarded $1,167,584 through 1,237 grants. School personnel have used past grant dollars to invest in heart rate monitors, nutritional and wellness curriculum or playground equipment. Others have organized health fairs, purchased pedometers for walking programs or healthy snacks to distribute on testing days.

The maximum grant amount is $1,000 and grants are limited to one per school, so school personnel are encouraged to collaborate on a program for their school. Healthy Habits for Life grants are available in the service area of the BCBSKS Foundation which includes all Kansas counties except Johnson and Wyandotte.

Applications must be postmarked or received electronically no later than Oct. 6 with the funds distributed in mid-December. Grant recipients may use the funds for programs offered during the 2018 calendar year. A grant application and additional information is available at bcbsks.com/hhfl.