More Than $175,000 in Grants Awarded as UnitedHealth HEROES "Step into
Service" to Fight Childhood Obesity
*Nearly 200 grants awarded to schools and nonprofit organizations
*Wellness initiative featuring active service projects from
UnitedHealthcare and YSA (Youth Service America)
*About 1,000 grants, totaling nearly $500,000, awarded since UnitedHealth
HEROES launched in 2009
MINNETONKA, Minn. -- January 18, 2013
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 obesity.
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 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, young
people are working to ‘Step into Service’ and give back to their communities,
making a positive impact on the lives of everyone around them.”
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
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
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
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 well-being company.
Photos/Multimedia Gallery Available:
Courtney Johnson, 952-936-7474
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