Youth Are Invited to “Step into Service” as UnitedHealth HEROES to Fight Childhood Obesity

Youth Are Invited to “Step into Service” as UnitedHealth HEROES to Fight Childhood Obesity

<0> UnitedHealth GroupCourtney Johnson, 952-936-7474 </0>

Starting today UnitedHealthcare and YSA are inviting schools and other community-based nonprofit organizations to “Step into Service” by applying for UnitedHealth HEROES grants.

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.

Grants of up to $1,000 will be awarded to youth-led programs that include both an activity element, in which kids count their steps, and a service component that increases awareness, provides direct service, enables advocacy on behalf of a cause, or features youth philanthropy around the issue of childhood obesity. UnitedHealth HEROES grants are available to schools and youth-focused, community-based programs across the country. UnitedHealth 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).

To learn more about the UnitedHealth HEROES program and to apply for a grant, visit . The application deadline is midnight ET on Oct. 15, 2012. Grant recipients will be notified in November. A list of previous grant winners is also available online.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 12 million children in the United States are obese. Healthy habits, including physical activity, can lower the risk of becoming obese and developing diseases related to being overweight.

“When youth help plan and participate in a UnitedHealth HEROES program, they’ll be taking part in positive change, which will affect their well-being while giving back to their communities,” said Kate Rubin, vice president of social responsibility, UnitedHealth Group. “We are excited to see the creative ideas young people come up with to help fight obesity and encourage healthier lifestyles.”

UnitedHealth Group is partnering 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.

“By partnering with UnitedHealthcare, YSA is mobilizing youth to take action and address childhood obesity, one of the toughest challenges facing their generation,” said Steven A. Culbertson, president and CEO of YSA“At the same time, UnitedHealth HEROES will ‘step into service,’ applying their energy and creativity to improve their communities through service.”

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.