UnitedHealthcare is awarding nearly 200 UnitedHealth HEROES grants to
help kids develop programs that will motivate their peers to "Step into
Service." Awarded to schools and community-based nonprofit organizations
nationwide, UnitedHealth HEROES grants will fund youth-led projects,
which include walking, running and hiking, to help fight childhood
Grants of up to $1,000 each 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 or provides direct service
around the issue of childhood obesity. An example of a program that has
been awarded a grant is 'Cache' the Spirit of Health, a project
in Lombard, Ill., in which students will count their steps along trails
while searching for geocached treasures. Each of the 100 students has
set a goal of walking 50 miles during the course of their project.
HEROES activities will begin on Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service
(Jan. 21, 2013) and end on Global Youth Service Day (April 26-28, 2013).
UnitedHealth HEROES is a wellness initiative 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. A complete list of grant winners is available online
"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, young people are working to 'Step into Service' and give back
to their communities, making a positive impact on the lives of everyone
Childhood obesity rates continue to rise dramatically. According to 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. Healthy habits, including
physical activity, can lower the risk of becoming obese and developing
diseases related to being overweight.
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®, released by United Health Foundation.
UnitedHealthcare partnered with YSA (Youth Service America) to launch
the fifth year of the UnitedHealth HEROES program. During the first four
years of the program, nearly 1,000 UnitedHealth HEROES grants, totaling
almost $500,000, have been awarded to groups across the country.
"UnitedHealth HEROES asks young people 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."
About YSA (Youth Service America)
Celebrating 25 years of youth changing the world, YSA (Youth Service
America) improves communities by increasing the number and diversity of
young people serving in substantive roles. Through campaigns such as
Global Youth Service Day and Semester of Service; YSA Grants and awards
programs; and resources and training opportunities, YSA activates
millions of young people each year. Working with--and on behalf of--youth,
adult mentors, organizations and schools, YSA promotes a global culture
of engaged youth committed to a lifetime of community action, learning,
leadership, and achievement.
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
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Courtney Johnson, 952-936-7474