DETROIT, April 3, 2013 – Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and the Detroit Tigers will make health, fitness and the fight against childhood obesity the focus of a special Kids Opening Day at Comerica Park on Sunday, April 7.

Nearly 200 kids, guided by the Tigers staff, will participate in exercise on the field before the Tigers’ game against the New York Yankees.  The participants, ages 8-14, and their coaches represent Boys & Girls Clubs, Detroit PAL, YMCA and local youth baseball teams. All kids age 14 and under attending the game will receive a miniature Miguel Cabrera MVP bat and “cheer card” upon entry. Kids will throw out the first pitch, sing the national anthem and announce the starting lineups, among other activities.

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“Healthy lifestyle habits are formed early in life, and Blue Cross is committed to making sure kids know the benefits of eating right and exercising,” said Andy Hetzel, vice president corporate communications for BCBSM. “This is a community-wide effort. Our partners, like Detroit PAL, Boys & Girls Clubs and YMCA, are helping to reinforce healthy habits with our kids. We appreciate the Detroit Tigers for setting aside a special day for kids at the start of the season, where we can work together to impact them in positive ways and leave them with a memory of a lifetime.”

Youth participants will join in a number of on-field calisthenics exercises, led by trainers from the Detroit Tigers prior to the Tigers’ 1:05 p.m. match up with the New York Yankees. PAWS, the Tigers’ mascot, will also be part of the exercise routine. As their ‘uniform’ for the day, kids will be wearing shirts with the Detroit Tigers Kids’ Opening Day logo, and have the opportunity to enjoy an afternoon at the ballpark, complete with a healthy lunch consisting of a chicken pita, pasta salad cup, baked chips, celery/carrots, and a bottle of water.

“The Detroit Tigers are proud to partner with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan in support of an initiative that can have a positive impact on children within our communities,” said Duane McLean, Tigers’ Executive Vice President of Business Operations. “Collectively, we are sending an important message and raising awareness in the fight against child obesity.”

BCBSM is committed to instilling healthy lifestyle behaviors in Michigan’s youth through numerous programs encouraging kids to be active and make healthy choices. Since 2004, the Blues have invested $5.8 million to help get kids healthy and active, all working to prevent childhood obesity.  In 2009, BCBSM started an elementary school-based program, called Building Healthy Communities, impacting more than 35,000 children in 83 schools to learn to make healthier choices and be more physically active.

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All three community partners are excited to bring a unique collaboration together to benefit kids in Michigan.

“Our Boys & Girls Clubs members are counting down the minutes in anticipation of Kids Opening Day and I know that our kids will cherish their memories of this experience their entire lives,” said Len Krichko, President and CEO for Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeastern Michigan.

“We are really grateful to Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and the Detroit Tigers for including Detroit PAL’s young people in such an unforgettable experience,” said Detroit PAL’s CEO, Tim Richey. “This event is a great example of how organizations can collaborate and provide amazing opportunities for kids.”

“The Y would like to thank BCBSM and the Detroit Tigers for this unique opportunity,” said Reid Thebault, YMCA of Metropolitan Detroit President and CEO.  “This is the chance of a lifetime for our kids and we’re excited to be a part of it.”

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In addition to the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan sponsored day, kids can also enjoy the following activities at Comerica Park on Sunday: free rides on the carousel and Ferris wheel sponsored by Kroger; and Kids Run the Bases by Aquafina.