UnitedHealthcare and 4-H Extend Partnership to Bring Food Budgeting and Nutrition Education to Additional 50,000 Children and Families

June 27, 2017

UnitedHealthcare volunteers and 4-H Food Smart Families cooking with garden-fresh vegetables. (Photo: 4-H)

  • Since 2011, UnitedHealthcare and 4-H have delivered healthy-living programs to more than 340,000 children and families in 14 states
  • UnitedHealthcare investment in 4-H community-based educational programs reaches $5 million

UnitedHealthcare announced it will invest an additional $1 million to extend its partnership with the National 4-H Council to deliver food budgeting and nutrition education to children and families in Arizona, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nebraska, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, Washington and Wisconsin.

Since 2011, UnitedHealthcare and 4-H have delivered healthy-living programs to more than 340,000 children and families in 14 states. 4-H’s expertise in community-based education and engagement, and its presence in communities throughout the country make it an ideal partner to address hunger and obesity at the local level. Nearly 16 million children nationwide live in households that are considered food insecure, meaning they do not have consistent access to food throughout the year.

One of the programs, 4-H Food Smart Families, addresses food insecurity and childhood obesity, and helps children and families eat healthier. The program has reached more than 43,000 children and families, distributed more than 14,000 bags of food to participants and provided 22,000 referrals to food safety-net programs.

“Food Smart Families makes a positive impact on communities by engaging young people to promote healthy food choices within their families,” said Jennifer Sirangelo, president & CEO, National 4-H Council. “We look forward to continuing this great work, and reaching more children and families through our continued partnership with UnitedHealthcare.”

Food Smart Families uses teens as teachers to provide communities with nutrition, food budgeting and meal-preparation programming; engages families through events; and addresses the social determinants of health by providing referrals for government nutrition benefits and ingredients for healthy dishes.

UnitedHealthcare and 4-H set the following goals for the Food Smart Families program:

  • train more than 200 teenagers as 4-H Teen Health Ambassadors;
  • educate 50,000 children and families about healthy food choices, food-safety principles and budgeting strategies;
  • distribute 26,000 bags of food so participating families may apply new education; and
  • provide 25,000 referrals to SNAP, WIC and other food safety-net programs to help alleviate hunger.

“As many of us are 4-H alumni, volunteers, donors and advocates, we’re grateful for the opportunity to continue our partnership with 4-H on this important effort to bring food and nutrition education to the people we are privileged to serve,” said Austin Pittman, CEO, UnitedHealthcare Community & State, and trustee on the National 4-H Council board of directors.

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, military service members, retirees and their families, and Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries, and contracts directly with more than 1 million physicians and care professionals, and 6,000 hospitals and other care facilities nationwide. UnitedHealthcare is one of the businesses of UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH), a diversified Fortune 50 health and well-being company. For more information, visit UnitedHealthcare at or follow @myUHC on Twitter.

About 4-H

4-H, the nation’s largest youth development organization, grows confident young people who are empowered for life today and prepared for career tomorrow. 4-H programs empower nearly six million young people across the U.S. through experiences that develop critical life skills. 4-H is the youth development program of our nation’s Cooperative Extension System and USDA, and serves every county and parish in the U.S. through a network of 110 public universities and more than 3000 local Extension offices. Globally, 4-H collaborates with independent programs to empower one million youth in 50 countries. The research-backed 4-H experience grows young people who are four times more likely to contribute to their communities; two times more likely to make healthier choices; two times more likely to be civically active; and two times more likely to participate in STEM programs. Learn more about 4-H at, find us on Facebook at‑H and on Twitter at