UnitedHealth HEROES Grant Awarded in Massachusetts to Fight Childhood Obesity
UnitedHealth HEROES Grant Awarded in Massachusetts.
- “UnitedHealth HEROES” grants support local programs that encourage children to “Step into Service”
- Community-focused, service-learning initiative by UnitedHealthcare and YSA (Youth Service America)
- More than $175,000 in HEROES grants awarded to nearly 200 schools and community-based nonprofit organizations nationwide
MINNETONKA, Minn. (Jan. 24, 2012) – UnitedHealthcare, a UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH) company, awarded $955 in UnitedHealth HEROES grants to the Boys & Girls Club of Woburn, MA, for a youth-led project that addresses childhood obesity. As childhood obesity rates continue to rise dramatically1, UnitedHealth HEROES supports kids’ creative efforts to battle obesity.
UnitedHealth HEROES is a wellness initiative developed by UnitedHealthcare and YSA (Youth Service America) designed to encourage young people, working with educators and youth leaders, to create and implement walking, running or hiking programs aimed at helping fight childhood obesity.
The Intrepid Keystone Club, a teen leadership and community service group, will host weekly challenges at the Boys & Girls Club, such as running laps, walking, or jumping rope. Members of the group will chart their progress throughout the weeks, and all who participate will earn prizes and incentives. The ultimate goal is to educate young people in the city of Woburn about the importance of active, healthy living, while giving them tangible and accessible steps to help them be active in their daily lives.
During the program, Keystone members will present facts and tips on how to stay healthy and active. The program will culminate with a health fair that will take place during Global Youth Service Day, when Boys & Girls Club members will showcase what they did over the weeks and learn more tips. They will also host a relay race -- a compilation of all the challenges in which members participated over the course of the program.
Grants of up to $1,000 were awarded to youth-led programs that include both an activity element, in which kids count their steps, and a service component that increases awareness, provides direct service, enables advocacy on behalf of a cause, or features youth philanthropy around the issue of childhood obesity. UnitedHealth HEROES grants are available to schools and youth-focused, community-based programs across the country. UnitedHealth HEROES projects will begin on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service (Jan. 21, 2013) and end on Global Youth Service Day (April 26-28, 2013).
A complete list of grant winners and their projects is available online at www.ysa.org/HEROES.
“Once again this year we were amazed by the creative ideas young people came up with to help fight obesity and encourage healthier lifestyles,” said Kate Rubin, vice president of social responsibility, UnitedHealth Group. “By planning, and then participating in the UnitedHealth HEROES program, these youth are working to ‘Step into Service,’ and give back to their communities, as they positively impact the lives of everyone around them.”
“UnitedHealth HEROES asks the young people of Massachusetts to step up to address an issue that directly affects them. The program is changing the way communities across the country think about the role of young people,” said Steven A. Culbertson, president and CEO of YSA. “Kids can be leaders, and through UnitedHealth HEROES, they are teaching other kids—and grown-ups too—about the value of healthy lifestyles.”
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.
According to America’s Health Rankings®, obesity is one of the greatest health threats in the U.S. It is a leading cause of preventable death. The direct medical costs associated with obesity in 2008 were estimated at $147 billion. 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.