Local community group SA Youth has received a $25,000 grant from the Aetna Foundation to help kids adopt healthy eating habits and get more exercise. The money will expand a fitness and nutrition education program at SA Youth’s 17 centers in San Antonio.
SA Fit! offers fun exercise, lessons on healthy eating, and the chance for kids to grow their own vegetables and take them home. The program also teaches kids about the risks of smoking, alcohol and drugs. Kids are served healthy meals and snacks.
“Thanks to the Aetna Foundation, we can reach 3,000 kids this year and start turning the tide against childhood obesity and diabetes,” said Cynthia Le Monds, CEO of SA Youth. “The statistics in San Antonio are staggering. More than half of our kids from low-income homes are overweight or obese, putting them at risk of developing diabetes and other chronic diseases.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than two-thirds of San Antonians are obese or overweight. Obesity can lead to serious health conditions, including heart disease, diabetes and stroke.For the Aetna Foundation, funding SA Youth is a good match. “Teaching kids healthy habits in a fun way is important to make the lessons stick,” said Sharon Dalton, vice president of the Aetna Foundation and director of regional grant making. “That's why this is such a great fit for us. The Foundation's mission is to promote health and wellness." SA Youth’s community learning centers provide free after-school, evening and weekend activities for 3,000 kids from the city’s disadvantaged neighborhoods. Since its founding in 1984, the organization has touched more than 22,000 families. About SA Youth SA Youth is a community organization that keeps at-risk children and youth off the streets and in school through its out-of-school time programs, and offers young adults a second chance in life by providing them with an opportunity to earn a high school diploma or GED while receiving workforce training in construction, technology or culinary arts. For more information, www.sanantonioyouth.org. About the Aetna Foundation The Aetna Foundation, Inc. is the independent charitable and philanthropic arm of Aetna Inc. (NYSE: AET). Since 1980, Aetna and the Aetna Foundation have contributed $413 million in grants and sponsorships, including $19.2 million in 2011. As a national health foundation, we promote wellness, health, and access to high-quality health care for everyone. This work is enhanced by the time and commitment of Aetna employees, who have volunteered more than 2.6 million hours since 2003. Aetna’s current giving is focused on addressing the rising rate of adult and childhood obesity in the U.S.; promoting racial and ethnic equity in health and health care; and advancing integrated health care. For more information, visit www.AetnaFoundation.org.