UnitedHealthcare today announced it is providing $600,000 in support of Healthier Tennessee, the inaugural initiative of the Governor’s Foundation for Health and Wellness, a nonprofit corporation created to improve the health of Tennesseans over the long-term. Healthier Tennessee is a statewide coalition of major employers, hospital systems, health insurers, YMCAs, local government, school systems and several health care-focused foundations and civic organizations. The initiative will encourage support of common goals; consistent measurement and reporting of results; and the use of proven, best-practice programs and tools in workplaces, schools, places of worship, and neighborhoods throughout the state. “It will take the support of schools, churches, businesses and other partners to achieve the positive health changes that are the goal of Healthier Tennessee,” said Rick Johnson, President and CEO of the Governor’s Foundation for Health and Wellness. "I appreciate the support and active involvement of UnitedHealthcare and all the other organizations that are showing leadership in this statewide effort to improve the health of Tennesseans.” Healthier Tennessee will enable and encourage more Tennesseans to lead healthier lives with the goal of improving the state’s health by: (1) increasing the number of Tennesseans who are active physically for at least 30 minutes five times a week; (2) encouraging people to eat a healthier diet; and (3) reducing the number of people who use tobacco. “UnitedHealthcare’s mission of helping people live healthier lives is very much in line with the goals of Healthy Tennessee,” said Scott A. Bowers of UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Tennessee. “We are committed to supporting this initiative with the time and talents of our local team and appreciate the opportunity to work in partnership with other coalition members to make a positive impact on the health of Tennesseans.” Tennessee ranks 39th in the country with 31.7% of adults estimated to be obese, according to United Health Foundation’s 2012 America’s Health Rankings report. UnitedHealthcare has been active in the work that began earlier this year to build consensus and partnership with local community leaders, major employers, health care-focused companies, schools and the faith community in support of Healthier Tennessee. Many UnitedHealthcare initiatives are focused on engaging youth and children in maintaining a healthy lifestyle:
- Nearly 1,000 people are enrolled in a middle Tennessee program with the YMCA over the course of 2012. Every month program participants are working out, with adults averaging individual weight loss of 6 pounds. Program capacity has been doubled to accommodate interest, driven by the success to date.
- Since 2011, UnitedHealthcare has partnered with Healthy Kids & Teens and Athletic Youth Odyssey Association to prevent and reduce obesity through the encouragement of regular physical activity and nutrition education in Tennessee schools. To date, 9,000 students have enrolled and shed approximately 2,500 lbs.
- UnitedHealth HEROES, a service-learning health-literacy initiative designed to encourage school children to implement local hands-on programs in order to fight childhood obesity, has included an investment of more than $50,000 in Tennessee communities since 2009.
- With more than $110,000 in educational tools and resources, UnitedHealthcare has equipped Eat4-Health Healthy Lifestyle Ambassadors in every county where 4-H is available with educational resources and fitness equipment to show young people that being active can be fun!
- Seven Adopt-A-School grants were awarded in the spring of this year to Tennessee schools to help fund health-related initiatives in schools such as health fairs, educational sessions and walking tracks.
- Sesame Street Food for Thought: Eating Well on a Budget,™ is an ongoing initiative in the state with events and information aimed at helping families with children between ages two and eight make affordable and nutritious food choices.