Building a Healthy Mississippi

Healthy Heroes Program

The Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation appreciates the continued support from municipal leaders, law enforcement and firefighters who are taking an active role in developing a healthy future generation of Mississippians. Police officers and firefighters encouraging students to make healthy food choices and exercise while building positive relationships creates an ongoing and lasting benefit to the community at large.

Many Mississippi elementary students are learning important health lessons as part of the Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation Healthy Heroes Program. “Healthy Heroes” are uniformed police officers and firefighters who visit K-5 schools and lead physical fitness activities, teach healthy nutrition lessons and hold community walks with students, parents, school personnel and neighborhood residents. The Program’s curricula is aligned with the Mississippi Department of Education to increase health literacy and develop lasting healthy behaviors in school children.

“Elementary students who begin exercising and eating nutritious food while they are young helps create lifelong healthy habits," said Saltillo Fire Chief Mark Nowell. "The Saltillo 'Healthy Heroes' are honored to serve as mentors and healthy role models to elementary school students to create good rapport and build positive relationships inside and outside the classroom.”

For police officers’ or firefighters’ willingness to visit K-5 elementary schools with healthy eating and exercise activities as part of the Healthy Heroes Program, city mayors may request Foundation grant funding for items to improve community wellness. Examples of some items are enhancements to a farmers’ market, creation of a community garden, purchase of outdoor fitness equipment for a city park or buying physical education equipment for a local school.

Since 2013, the Foundation has implemented the Healthy Heroes Program in 28 cities to support community health and well-being and increase health literacy among students in grades K-5.

Pictured at right: Healthy Heroes Programs at Saltillo (two top images) and West Point (two bottom images)