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Three-Hundred Florida 4-H Youth Leaders, UnitedHealthcare Launch Partnership To Promote Nutrition Literacy, Physical Fitness and Personal Safety

  • $55,000 Grant from UnitedHealthcare to fund Youth Voice: Youth Choice programs that target underserved communities in Florida
  • More than 300 4-H youth leaders participate in fun group exercise and healthy workshops at kick-off event, one of many joint activities designed to improve health through fitness and diet
  • UnitedHealthcare-4-H partnership to focus efforts on high rates of obesity in Florida

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (July 26, 2011) – Florida 4-H and UnitedHealthcare joined together today at the annual Florida 4-H Congress to launch a new partnership – Youth Voice: Youth Choice – a program to help young people in the state improve their health and well-being through exercise, proper nutrition and attention to personal safety.

More than 300 4-H youth leaders were on-hand as UnitedHealthcare presented Florida 4-H with a $55,000 check to mark the beginning of the partnership.

To officially kick-off the partnership, UnitedHealthcare's Dr. Health E. Hound mascot joined 4-H students, community leaders and health-fitness coaches for a group exercise and an afternoon of healthy workshops designed to teach the 4-H youth gathered for the event basic physical fitness exercises and smart tips for healthier eating. The workshops focused on the importance of diet and exercise in their daily lives and how to apply that knowledge with their families and friends in their communities.

"Florida 4-H is thrilled to partner with UnitedHealthcare to help reach and educate youth and their families about the importance of proper nutrition and exercise in leading a healthy life," said Dr. Keith Diem, Florida State 4-H program leader. "We are helping to facilitate ongoing youth leadership through 4-H, encouraging our youth leaders to be healthy-lifestyle ambassadors. Today's healthy workshops and fitness exercises are an excellent way to demonstrate how 4-H youth will play an important role in their communities to help launch this initiative."

Today's announcement is part of a national partnership between the National 4-H Council and UnitedHealthcare. Florida 4-H is one of three states receiving funding from UnitedHealthcare for the pilot program. The grant will support events and activities designed to develop and enhance healthy living through afterschool programs, health fairs, camps, clubs, workshops and educational forums. 4-H youth leaders will serve as ambassadors, helping to lead programs that encourage young people to take action for themselves and their families, and to promote healthy living in their communities through nutrition literacy, physical fitness and personal safety.

Florida, along with Mississippi and Texas, were selected for the UnitedHealthcare pilot due to high incidences of obesity among children living in these states' underserved communities. As part of the partnership, each state 4-H program is developing action plans with targeted goals and outcomes to provide innovative, hands-on learning approaches that target specific community needs. The results will be measured and shared with community leaders, providing other organizations the opportunity to learn and implement similar programs in at-risk communities.

As part of the Youth Voice: Youth Choice partnership, 4-H will sponsor events and activities in targeted counties in Florida. For example, Dade County 4-H will develop educational workshops designed for students in Miami-Dade County. Additional events include nutrition education at youth camps in Brevard County, youth fitness activities at county fairs, student workshops in Leon County, and other events at community health fairs and schools.

"UnitedHealthcare is partnering with 4-H to ensure children, particularly those in underserved communities, learn skills to enhance their health and well-being," said Kathleen R. Crampton, president &CEO, UnitedHealthcare Community &State in Florida. "By teaming up with 4-H youth leaders, we can help thousands of young people take action to lead healthier lives."

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. 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 comprehensive assessment of the nation's health on a state-by-state analysis. It is published jointly by United Health Foundation, the American Public Health Association and Partnership for Prevention.

4-H nationally reaches more than 6 million youth each year through clubs, camps and school enrichment programs. UnitedHealthcare Community &State, UnitedHealth Group's government-sponsored health care program, serves more than 2 million children in 24 states and the District of Columbia in Medicaid and CHIP. 4-H and UnitedHealthcare share connections with many of the same public sector and community organizations, including state and county governments and school districts.

About Florida 4-H
4-H is a community of six million young people across America learning leadership, citizenship, and life skills. As the youth development program of the University of Florida IFAS Extension, Florida 4-H uses a learn-by-doing approach to enable youth, ages 5-18, to develop the knowledge, attitudes, and skills they need to become informed, caring and contributing citizens of the world. Through award-winning programs, Florida 4-H offers youth fun, safe, and inclusive learning environments to meet their need for belonging, through 4-H clubs, after school programs, special interest, school enrichment programs, and camping. Florida 4-H programs are conducted at the local county level and guided by 4-H Extension agents and volunteers, impacting more than 240,000 youth annually. Florida 4-H uses best practices to interest youth in learning, including: experiential learning (learn-by-doing), youth-adult partnerships, fun curriculum materials, and activities such as contests & events, community service projects, and collaborations with other youth–serving agencies and organizations on a local, regional, state and national level. For more information visit, www.florida4h.org.

The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information, and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions, or affiliations. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Cooperative Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A&M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating.

About UnitedHealthcare
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.

Contacts:
Shaumond Scott
Florida 4-H
(352) 846-0996
fourh@ifas.ufl.edu
Alice Ferreira
UnitedHealthcare
(203) 459-7775
alice.ferreira@uhc.com




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