SEPT. 9, 2010
MEDIA CONTACT: Tracey Lempner
Deadline approaches for Florida youth
To take part in anti-obesity grant program
Grants of up to $1,000 will go to youth teams with the best ideas
The deadline is fast approaching for children and youth across Florida have the opportunity to become “Health Heroes” by learning about childhood obesity, designing programs to address it and implementing the programs in their communities.
Applications must be submitted online before midnight, Oct. 22, 2010. Grant recipients will be notified in December and January.
To obtain an application, visit www.YSA.org/HEROES. The website also contains more information about the program as well as “First Responders: Youth Addressing Childhood Obesity Through Service-Leaning,” a step-by-step manual that helps youth, parents, teachers and other volunteers deploy YSA service-learning models to fight childhood obesity in their communities.
UnitedHealth HEROES is a service-learning, health literacy initiative designed to encourage young people, working with educators and youth leaders, to create and implement local hands-on programs to fight childhood obesity. As childhood obesity rates are increasing, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH) is taking the fight to Florida and offering UnitedHealth HEROES grants to schools and youth-focused, community center-based programs.
Grants of up to $1,000 will be awarded to programs that demonstrate a clear understanding of the health risks associated with childhood obesity; propose creative solutions to fighting obesity in their schools and communities; and can be easily implemented, scaled and measured. In addition, each grant also engages participating youth in service-learning, an effective teaching and learning strategy that supports student academic achievement, and helps students develop their workplace readiness skills.
UnitedHealth Group is partnering with Youth Service America (YSA) to launch the third year of the UnitedHealth HEROES program. Research by Denver-based RMC Research Corp. has shown that young people who participate in service-learning programs improve their academic performance and critical-thinking skills, increase their confidence and sense of potential, and accept leadership roles.
To date, UnitedHealth Group has awarded 361 HEROES grants to schools and community organizations across the country. Earlier this year, more than 20,000 children and youth logged over 436,000 volunteer hours serving more than 100,000 people in their communities to help reduce childhood obesity. A list of previous grant winners is available at www.ysa.org.
UnitedHealth HEROES grant recipients will have the opportunity to showcase their projects on YSA’s 22nd Annual Global Youth Service Day (GYSD), April 15-17, 2011. GYSD provides an opportunity for students to include their projects in a larger, global youth service movement that seeks to improve communities in all 50 states and more than 100 countries.
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. In Florida, about 33.1 percent of children ages 10 to 17 are considered overweight or obese. If left unchecked or untreated, obesity will affect 43 percent of adults by 2018, according to the 2009 America’s Health Rankings™, 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.