Arizona 4-H and UnitedHealthcare announced a new partnership to promote
healthy living and empower youth to help fight the nation's obesity
Arizona 4-H and UnitedHealthcare launched its Eat4-Health partnership at the Harvest Festival at the Tucson Village Farm. Left to right: Natalie Shepp, Pima Arizona 4-H Chapter; UnitedHealthcare mascot Dr. Health E. Hound; Elizabeth Sharps, Pima Arizona 4-H Chapter; Noemi Bohn, UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Arizona (Photo: Ben Arnold Photography).
The partnership, called Eat4-Health, is activating thousands of
4-H youth ambassadors to make healthy choices for themselves and
encourage friends, families and people in their communities to make
positive changes through training, creative programs and educational
events. It currently spans 10 states, including Arizona.
At the partnership launch in Arizona, UnitedHealthcare's mascot Dr.
Health E. Hound joined 4-H youth and hundreds of community residents at
the annual Harvest Festival at the Tucson Village Farm, participating in
various learning activities to promote health, fitness and healthy
living. 4-H youth led cooking demonstrations, learned gardening tips and
participated in educational lessons about healthy eating choices.
During the event representatives from UnitedHealthcare presented a
$30,000 check to Arizona 4-H to officially launch the partnership, which
is being administered by the University of Arizona Cooperative Extension
and provides 4-H programs to counties throughout the state.
Eat4-Health builds on UnitedHealthcare's successful partnership
with National 4-H Council that began last year in Florida, Mississippi
and Texas. The campaign is expanding to Arizona, Louisiana, Nebraska,
New York, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Tennessee. Each participating
state 4-H organization is receiving a $30,000 grant funded by
UnitedHealthcare to support healthy-living programs, events and other
activities administered by 4-H that encourage young people and their
families to eat more nutritious foods and exercise regularly.
"Arizona 4-H is excited about this new partnership and we are proud to
partner with UnitedHealthcare to promote healthy living among 4-H youth
and their families here in Arizona," said Kirk Astroth, Arizona 4-H
Youth Development Director at the University of Arizona Cooperative
Extension. "4-H youth are excellent ambassadors to help spread positive
messages about the importance of diet and nutrition in our daily lives."
"We are fortunate to be able to join with the young people associated
with 4-H in Arizona and work together in helping make a difference in
the lives of so many families in our state," said Kent Monical,
president of UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Arizona.
"UnitedHealthcare and 4-H look forward to harnessing the energy and
excitement of 4-H youth to promote healthy living and making a positive
impact in the communities that will be supported by this partnership."
Participating 4-H state programs receiving a grant are developing action
plans that provide innovative, hands-on learning approaches that target
specific community needs in their state. Many of these activities will
support healthy-living programs led by 4-H that encourage youth and
community participation through events such as health fairs, cooking
demonstrations, after-school programs, workshops and educational forums,
among others. UnitedHealthcare employees will team up with 4-H at many
of these events, assisting with planning and executing projects that
lead to positive, sustainable change at the community and individual
As part of the Eat4-Health campaign, each state is organizing a
Youth Summit/Conference to train 4-H youth ambassadors to implement the
programs and help reach the goals in each state. The summits will
provide the venue where participants will learn more about nutrition,
health and fitness, obtain information on promoting health within their
communities, and gain new tools for participating in multisession
educational trainings and one-time community activities and events. This
teen leadership experience will also serve as a launch to a Teen
Ambassadors pledge and prepare 4-H'ers to use their increased
healthy-living knowledge and skills to make an impact in their own
Online and printed educational materials will enable participants to
learn and commit to making healthier choices. To encourage
participation, the campaign will provide simple tips for healthy choices
when food shopping, preparing home meals or school lunches, when out
with friends or at special occasions.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),
obesity among children and adolescents has almost tripled since 1980,
with nearly one in every three children being overweight or obese.
Children from low-income and low-education households are three-times
more likely to be obese. America's Health Rankings®, an annual
comprehensive assessment of the nation's health on a state-by-state
basis, indicates that obesity is a leading risk factor for diabetes,
heart disease and many cancers. The estimated economic cost of obesity
is $270 billion per year.
4-H reaches 6 million youth each year, 2.5 million of whom participate
in healthy-living programs that promote nutrition, wellness and physical
activities. UnitedHealthcare Community & State serves more than 2.5
million children in 25 states and the District of Columbia. 4-H and
UnitedHealthcare share connections with many of the same public sector
and community organizations, including state and county governments and
In 2011 the 4-H/UnitedHealthcare partnership reached more than 40,000
youth and families in three states through hundreds of community events
and activities that included distributing positive messages about
nutrition and wellness. This was accomplished in creative venues such as
healthy-cooking demonstrations, fitness camps, youth forums and
community family days. These events were designed to empower 4-H youth
in the targeted states to help educate their families and people in
their communities about the importance of healthy living through more
nutritious diets and increased physical activity in their daily
lives. The program targeted communities in Florida, Mississippi and
Texas with the greatest need for education, outreach and resources.
About Arizona 4-H: 4-H is a community of six million young people
across America learning leadership, citizenship, and life skills.
National 4-H Council is the private sector, non-profit partner of 4-H
National Headquarters located at the National Institute of Food and
Agriculture (NIFA) within USDA. 4-H programs are implemented by the 111
land-grant universities and the Cooperative Extension System through
their 3,100 local Extension offices across the country. The University
of Arizona 4-H Youth Development Program provides quality youth
education by building positive relationships and life skills. More than
9,000 Arizona youth are enrolled members of 4-H community clubs in
Arizona. They are supported by more than 2,000 adult volunteer leaders.
Another 132,000 Arizona youth get involved in 4-H through special
educational opportunities. To learn more go to: http://extension.arizona.edu/4h.
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.
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Molly McMillen, 952-931-6029
Elizabeth Sparks, 520-626-5161