American School Health Association Receives United Health Foundation Grant to Boost Obesity Prevention in Schools

Bethesda, Md — 
The American School Health Association (ASHA) received a $50,000 grant from United Health Foundation to help school health professionals reduce the rate of childhood obesity.

The funds will provide for a series of free webinars for educators on evidence-based approaches for improving nutrition and increasing physical activity among kids. The webinars will be conducted by experts in research and programming for obesity prevention from the Journal of School Health’s special issue on Obesity Prevention in Children and Adolescents. Webinar participants will earn continuing education credit and an opportunity to discuss important school health issues with these experts in the field of children’s health.

The webinars will precede the March 2013 publication of the Journal of School Health’s special issue on Obesity Prevention in Children and Adolescents. The issue, sponsored by United Health Foundation, will be devoted to original research on school- or community-based approaches that can help educators create similar effective programs for students pre-K through twelfth grade.

“Time and again, research has shown that healthier students are better learners. United Health Foundation’s support will enable our association to continue promoting healthy students and healthy schools,” said Dr. Stephen Conley, executive director of the American School Health Association.
United Health Foundation is working with the National Association of School Nurses (NASN) to provide school nurses with “School Nurse Childhood Obesity Prevention Education” (SCOPE) training to empower them with tools and resources to reverse the trend of childhood obesity in their schools, including medical referrals, community programs and online resources that support families in achieving a healthy lifestyle.
“Obesity is a critical problem in America’s classrooms. United Health Foundation and the American School Health Association will bring powerful, effective resources to teachers and school nurses to help them fight childhood obesity,” said Kate Rubin, president of United Health Foundation. “We are grateful for the opportunity to support ASHA in this effort to help children and their families lead healthier lives.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in three children is obese or overweight, putting them on the road to lifelong chronic conditions like diabetes and heart disease.

If left unchecked or untreated, obesity will affect 43 percent of adults by 2018 and will add nearly $344 billion in that year alone to the nation’s annual direct health care costs, accounting for more than 21 percent of health care spending, according to America’s Health Rankings®. America’s Health Rankings is an annual comprehensive assessment of the nation’s health on a state-by-state analysis. It is published jointly by United Health Foundation, the American Public Health Association and Partnership for Prevention.

United Health Foundation’s support for ASHA is part of the Activate for Kids initiative. Activate for Kids is a community-based school wellness program by UnitedHealthcare that promotes healthy-living goals and prevents obesity through collaboration with schools, and health care and community partners.

About The American School Health Association: The American School Health Association (ASHA) is the leading membership organization for school health professionals. It is concerned with all health factors that are necessary for students to be ready to learn, including optimum nutrition, physical fitness, emotional well-being, and a safe and clean environment. The association focuses its efforts on professional development, outreach and advocacy for educators and health providers.

About United Health Foundation: Guided by a passion to help people live healthier lives, United Health Foundation provides helpful information to support decisions that lead to better health outcomes and healthier communities. The Foundation also supports activities that expand access to quality health care services for those in challenging circumstances and partners with others to improve the well-being of communities. Since established by UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH) in 1999 as a not-for-profit, private foundation, the Foundation has committed more than $200 million to improve health and health care. For more information, visit www.unitedhealthfoundation.org.

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American School Health Association Receives United Health Foundation Grant to Boost Obesity Prevention in Schools