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Mascot Inspires Kids to Get Moving

  • Physical inactivity is contributing to rates of obesity among America’s children.
  • Dr. Health E. Hound®, mascot for UnitedHealthcare Community & State, is travelling to events across the country to teach kids how to stay fit and healthy. 

Counteracting Childhood Obesity and Sedentary Lifestyles

Today, about one in eight American preschoolers is obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).1 Obesity is measured by body mass index (BMI), a calculation of fat on the body. A child with a BMI in the 95th percentile or higher for his or her gender and age is considered obese. 

Childhood obesity has more than doubled over the past 30 years and is causing problems across the country. Of obese children ages 5 to 17, 70 percent have at least one risk factor for cardiovascular disease (e.g., high cholesterol or high blood pressure). Obese children are more likely to be obese as adults and at a greater risk of developing cancer.2

While a 2013 CDC report suggests “small but significant” decreases in obesity among low-income preschoolers, more than 20 states show either no decrease or a slight increase in the obesity rate. 1

UnitedHealthcare Community & State is committed to working with states to address childhood obesity through initiatives that encourage physical activity. 

The Risk of Physical Inactivity

Physical inactivity and sedentary lifestyles are among the leading contributors to obesity. In 2012, 26.2 percent of Americans over 18 reported doing no exercise outside of work in the previous month, according to America’s Health Rankings. That lack of exercise increases the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabetes and obesity. Further, it is estimated that 1 in 10 deaths each year can be traced back to physical inactivity.3

To help reverse the obesity trend, UnitedHealthcare Community & State has created a variety of initiatives, from incentive programs to local events, to reach out and get kids moving.

Meet Dr. Health E. Hound 

To get kids moving and excited about a healthier lifestyle, UnitedHealthcare Community & State sends its mascot, Dr. Health E. Hound®, to events across the country. From Hawaii to Rhode Island, Dr. Health E. Hound hands out flyers and coloring books, leads exercises, and teaches children about the importance of staying healthy.

As part of the Dr. Health E. Hound Fitness Challenge, the mascot cheers for children at local events (such as state fairs) as they complete a series of four short exercises to improve their strength, endurance, speed and flexibility. Kids receive fitness challenge books and are encouraged to continue to work on these exercises at home. Fitness challenge workout guides contain step-by-step instructions for various exercises (from the Doggie Stretch to Jump the Leash) and offer a way for children to track their progress.

Encouraging Kids Together

This UnitedHealthcare Community & State initiative is designed to be an exciting, fresh way to encourage everyone to get moving and get healthy. But more importantly, the mascot and initiatives encourage lifestyle changes that kids can continue to work on long after they leave the events. 

To learn more about obesity in your state, visit America’s Health Rankings at


1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “New CDC Vital Signs: Obesity Declines Among Low-Income Preschoolers.”

2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Childhood Obesity Facts.”

3. America’s Health Rankings. “Physical Inactivity (1997-2012).”