Blue Cross Blue Shield of NC president wants to do more on childhood obesit

Brad Wilson, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina’s new president and CEO, said wellness and prevention would be a high-level focus for him in his new job.

Wilson, speaking Monday in Wilmington during an hour-long interview, said he was interested particularly in childhood obesity, an issue that is receiving increased attention nationally after First Lady Michelle Obama made it her key initiative this year.

Wilson, speaking mostly about the impact of the new health reform law (which by the way, he said did not include enough about encouraging prevention), said healthier lifestyles also have to be part of the discussion.

“Rounded up 25 percent of our school-aged children in North Carolina meet the definition of medical obesity,” he said. “If we don’t understand that and do something about that, we can pass 2,700-page bills all day long in Washington D.C., we can have very fruitful discussions with provider partners about a new way to pay for health care, we can do a lot of things, but it is not going to change the fundamental face of North Carolina relative to increasing health care cost and poor health.”

in 2005 became the first insurer nationally to cover obesity as a primary condition, currently has a pilot program with goals to drop children’s time playing on the computer and watching television to less than two hours a day, increase daily fruit and vegetable consumption to at least five servings, increase physical activity to an hour or more a day and reduce how much sugared beverages they drink.