Five GRANTS AWARDED IN Washington, DC TO FIGHT CHILDHOOD OBESITY
· “UnitedHealth HEROES” grants support local programs that engage children as learners and leaders of healthy habits
· Community-focused, service-learning initiative by UnitedHealthcare and Youth Service America
· More than $187,000 in HEROES grants awarded to 282 schools and community-based organizations nationwide
Washington, DC ( – As childhood obesity rates continue to rise dramatically1, UnitedHealthcare is supporting kids’ creative efforts to battle obesity through its UnitedHealth HEROES grant program.
UnitedHealthcare, a UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH) company, awarded more than $3,000 in HEROES grants to five local youth-serving organizations in Washington, DC for youth-led projects that address childhood obesity.
UnitedHealth HEROES is a service-learning, health literacy initiative developed by UnitedHealthcare and Youth Service America (YSA) designed to encourage young people, working with educators and youth leaders, to create and implement hands-on programs to encourage healthy eating and healthy lifestyles.
Washington, DC grantees include:
Participants will build community gardens, learn about sustainable agriculture, and spread their nutrition knowledge to other students and their families through PSAs, assemblies, and community events.
Program will educate youth to train other peers about the issues of childhood obesity and healthy food options that exist, or creating them in the community.
Program will confront and target youth obesity and the behaviors that contribute to it to elevate awareness and incite positive lifestyle practices by the youth, their families and the larger community.
Program will work with college volunteers and youth at the after-school program in Ward 7 to conduct research into a variety of food-related topics surrounding “food deserts.”
Participants will learn about food and nutrition issues, food history and facts, and how to prepare vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans and vegetarian proteins to promote a healthy lifestyle.
Grants of up to $1,000 each were awarded to programs that demonstrate a clear understanding of the health risks associated with childhood obesity; propose creative solutions to fight obesity in neighborhoods and communities; and can be effectively implemented, scaled and measured. Projects will culminate April 20-22, 2012, on Global Youth Service Day, the world’s largest and longest-running youth-led service campaign.
A complete list of grant winners and their projects is available online at www.ysa.org/HEROES.
“We believe that children are uniquely positioned to come up with creative ideas to help their peers in the fight against obesity and to encourage healthier living,” said Jim Cronin, CEO of UnitedHealthcare of the Mid-Atlantic. “With UnitedHealth HEROES, we are helping young people take action to improve their overall health and quality of life in a way that’s not only educational, but beneficial for their entire community.
“UnitedHealth HEROES is part of UnitedHealthcare’s overall commitment to help stem the rising tide of obesity and related chronic health conditions like diabetes,” said Cronin.
“When we ask young people to tackle tough issues like childhood obesity, we’re helping to inspire the problem-solvers of today and tomorrow,” said Steve Culbertson, president and CEO of YSA. “UnitedHealth HEROES grants have a ripple effect: the benefits will be seen in communities nationwide now and well into the future. YSA applauds UnitedHealthcare for inviting young people to take action and create healthy communities.”
Obesity is a critical problem among America’s children. According to recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in three children is obese or overweight, putting them on the road to lifelong chronic conditions like diabetes and heart disease.
If left unchecked or untreated, obesity will affect 43 percent of adults by 2018 and will add nearly $344 billion in that year alone to the nation’s annual direct health care costs, accounting for more than 21 percent of health care spending, according to America’s Health Rankings®. America’s Health Rankings is an annual state-by-state assessment of the nation’s health. It is published jointly by United Health Foundation, the American Public Health Association and Partnership for Prevention.
1– Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2011.
YSA (Youth Service America) improves communities worldwide by increasing the number and the diversity of young people, ages 5-25, serving in substantive roles. Founded in 1986, YSA supports a global culture of engaged youth committed to a lifetime of service, learning, leadership, and achievement. The impact of YSA’s work through service and service-learning is measured in student achievement, workplace readiness, and healthy communities. For more information, visitwww.YSA.org.
UnitedHealthcare is dedicated to helping people nationwide live healthier lives by simplifying the health care experience, meeting consumer health and wellness needs, and sustaining trusted relationships with care providers. The company offers the full spectrum of health benefit programs for individuals, employers and Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries, and contracts directly with more than 650,000 physicians and care professionals and 5,000 hospitals nationwide. UnitedHealthcare serves more than 38 million people and is one of the businesses of UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH), a diversified Fortune 50 health and well-being company.