UnitedHealthcare announced it will once again team up with IRONKIDS® for the 2013 UnitedHealthcare IRONKIDS National Race series.
UnitedHealthcare and IRONKIDS aim to inspire and motivate youth to lead active, positive and healthy lifestyles by sponsoring 10 youth events – nine running races and a triathlon – in seven states.
The first event will kick off on April 6 in Galveston at the UnitedHealthcare IRONKIDS Galveston Fun Run where hundreds of young people, ages 3 to 15, will participate in a one-mile race to raise awareness about obesity and living healthy. UnitedHealthcare mascot Dr. Health E. Hound will participate in the event, helping youth and their parents with warm-up exercises and joining the kids at the starting line to officially kick-off the race.
UnitedHealthcare and the Galveston Boys & Girls Club, which works with youth in underserved communities, will sponsor more than 50 runners. The company will provide complimentary entry fees for the race and weekend-long IRONMAN activities, enabling youth who often face barriers to good health, such as the cost of participating in athletic events, to compete in a running event.
Open to participants ages 3 to 15, the UnitedHealthcare IRONKIDS 2013 Running Series features age-appropriate health activities such as the one-mile walk/run as well as music and health expos, and the opportunity to watch IRONMAN and IRONMAN 70.3 events along with hundreds of spectators.
"We are thrilled to once again have UnitedHealthcare team-up with IRONKIDS to sponsor the 2013 UnitedHealthcare IRONKIDS National Race Series," said Carola Ross, senior vice president of Sales and Marketing for IRONMAN North America. "The opportunity that it affords thousands of youth in these communities is a fun way to get up and be active while educating on the importance of living a healthy lifestyle."
UnitedHealthcare employees will also be on hand at the races to cheer youth participants and lead healthy, hands-on activities such as games and exercises, as well as distribute educational materials. The company will award each runner with water, healthy snacks, T-shirts and medals.
This is the second year UnitedHealthcare is supporting IRONKIDS races and is part of the company's overall commitment to help stem the rising tide of childhood obesity through healthy lifestyles. Obesity among children and adolescents has almost tripled since 1980, with nearly one in every three children being overweight or obese, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Children from low-income and low-education households are three-times more likely to suffer from obesity, which is a leading risk factor for diabetes, heart disease and many cancers, according to America's Health Rankings®, an annual comprehensive assessment of the nation's health on a state-by-state basis. Texas ranks 40th among all 50 states in obesity; more than 30 percent of Texans have a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher.
"These IRONKIDS races are creating an inspirational environment where children, young adults and families can learn how healthier living can enhance their well-being and inspire the athlete in all of us," said Steve Nelson, CEO of UnitedHealthcare Community & State. "Children can enjoy a lifetime of good health and wellness by learning about the benefits of healthy lifestyles at an early age, and how exercise can take them across finish lines they had never imagined."The UnitedHealthcare IRONKIDS National Race series schedule includes 10 events in seven states beginning April 6 and ending Nov. 16. Additional cities and dates include Haines City, Fla., May 18; Syracuse, N.Y., June 22; Lake Stevens, Wash., July 20; Lake Placid, N.Y., July 26; Las Vegas, Sept. 7; Madison, Wis., Sept. 7; Panama City Beach, Fla., Nov. 1; and Tempe, Ariz., Nov. 16. All the events are one-mile "fun runs" with the exception of Haines City, Fla., which will include a Triathlon.
For more information about the IRONKIDS Running Race Series or to register for an upcoming event, visit www.IRONKIDS.com. For more information about UnitedHealthcare, visit www.uhc.com or follow @myUHC on Twitter.
The iconic IRONMAN® brand and event series is the largest participation sports platform in the world. Since the inception of IRONMAN in 1978, athletes have proven that ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE® by crossing finish lines at the world's most challenging endurance races. Recognized for excellence through distinguished events, world-class athletes and quality products, World Triathlon Corporation (WTC), owner and operator of IRONMAN, has grown from a single race to a global sensation with more than 180 events across five unique brands: IRONMAN, IRONMAN 70.3®, 5150™ Triathlon Series, Iron Girl® and IronKids.® Supported by partners including Timex, PowerBar, K-Swiss and TYR, more than 200,000 athletes compete each season in the Ironman and Ironman 70.3 Series. For more information, visit www.ironman.com.
After being acquired from the Sara Lee Corporation, which owned the event series since 1985, IRONKIDS® launched in 2009 with nine events in the IRONKIDS® National Triathlon Series. Since the inaugural year, IRONKIDS has seen more than 60,000 participants and has grown to over 40 events worldwide including races in Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe and North America. The brand represents a multi-dimensional approach to creating positive experiences for athletes, families and communities as, as well as embodies achievement and determination while fostering self-esteem. The IRONKIDS mission is to inspire and motivate through the sport to live an active, positive and healthy lifestyle. For more information visit www.ironkids.com.
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 780,000 physicians and other care professionals and 5,900 hospitals and other care facilities nationwide. UnitedHealthcare serves more than 40 million people in health benefits and is one of the businesses of UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH), a diversified Fortune 50 health and well-being company.