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Published April 02, 2013, 11:30 PM

‘Healthy play’ area coming to West Acres

FARGO – Children visiting the West Acres Shopping Center soon will have a new indoor “healthy play” area with opportunities to climb, slide and explore tunnels.

By: Patrick Springer, INFORUM

FARGO – Children visiting the West Acres Shopping Center soon will have a new indoor “healthy play” area with opportunities to climb, slide and explore tunnels.

The new “Recess West” play area, expected to open in early May, is being supported by Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota, the latest in the health insurer’s ongoing efforts to provide fitness opportunities.

“Our children can enjoy the benefits of healthy activity 12 months of the year,” said Brad Schlossman, chief executive officer of West Acres Development.

Since children will be at the shopping center anyway, it’s better to provide play area equipment that will allow them to be physically active, said Paul von Ebers, the Blues’ chief executive officer.

West Acres invested $250,000 for the new play area, which includes a 16-foot tree with clubhouse and fox den. It is located near the West Acres Food Court and replaces Dinosaur Playland, which Schlossman said will be relocated.

In North Dakota, about a third of children and adolescents are overweight or obese. Nationally, 17 percent of children ages 2 to 19 are obese. Obesity increases the risk of chronic diseases, including high blood pressure and diabetes.

“As health care costs continue to rise, this issue of obesity is a very important driver of costs,” von Ebers said.

Last year, Blue Cross Blue Shield launched its “Official Sponsor of Recess,” program, promoting health and wellness among school children, and will continue to announce more initiatives, von Ebers said.

The Blues also have awarded more than $3 million in grants to 66 rural health institutions to promote active wellness.


Readers can reach Forum reporter Patrick Springer at (701) 241-5522

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