With childhood obesity on the rise, the Anthem Blue Cross Foundation is partnering with the Santa Monica Boys & Girls Club to educate kids on ways to eat healthy.

The foundation provided the club with two grants totaling $6,500 to expand Triple Play programming, Boys & Girls Club of America’s health and wellness program proven to demonstrate how eating right, keeping fit and forming positive relationships add up to a healthy lifestyle, according to a press release issued Tuesday.

The foundation provided $66,000 in grants to various clubs in California.

Of the money Santa Monica’s club received, $1,500 will cover a “Gamesroom Tournament” to bring club members together for competitions that challenge minds and help build friendships, according to the release.

A part of Triple Play, the Healthy Habits program includes cooking classes to encourage healthy habits while explaining the importance of nutritious food — with ingredients coming from the Santa Monica club’s newly-built edible garden. That program will continue into the summer.

“We’re thrilled to have the Anthem Blue Cross Foundation as a co-sponsor of the Triple Play program and thank them for the work they are doing to make sure that we are continuously able to bring the program to our youth,” said Aaron Young, president and CEO of Santa Monica Boys & Girls Club. “Anthem Blue Cross is truly committed to improving the health of kids and families, and the grants provided to Boys & Girls Clubs make an immediate, positive difference in the lives and futures of our club members.”

A recent study of more than 2,000 children ages 9-14 who attend Boys & Girls Clubs showed that Triple Play succeeded in getting them to exercise more, eat healthier foods and feel better about themselves, according to the press release.

Triple Play kids increased to 90 percent of the federally recommended amount of daily exercise, which is 60 minutes a day for children, while their peers outside the program decreased to 78 percent.

Approximately 17 percent, or 12.5 million, children and adolescents aged 2-19 years are obese, according to data from the National Health and Examination Survey.

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